To be more specific, the band was hacked off (rightfully so, in our opinion) about Barrow's support for a Constitutional amendment that bans burning the U.S. flag.
According to Blake's column, the band was told that the Republicans are making Johnny B hate the 1st Amendment, since redistricting his made his district more conservative.
Also according to Blake, the Congressman (or more accurately, a member of his staff) promised the band a flag that was flown over the Capitol.
Today, Barrow writes in to the ABH to set the record straight.
"I have never knowingly presented a flag to any group or individual who intended to desecrate it, nor would I ever. They are not going to get a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol. Not from me, at any rate."
Our question is this. Why?
Why make an issue out of this at all? Are you really that worried 13 months before the election?
John Barrow has smart folks working for him, and there's no denying that. But sometimes, Barrow's beltway brain trust is just a leeeeeeeeetle too smart for their own good. This is a good example.
Living in the fishbowl that is beltway politics does strange things to a person. There's a certain mindset that folks get into in DC, and part and parcel of that mindset is the unshakeable belief that the folks back in your district are watching every move you make and grading you accordingly.
Not exactly. And that's why the folks up in Barrow's DC headquarters kind of blew it.
Y'see, most folks had already forgotten about this particular story, especially in Athens, where politically, we have much bigger fish to fry right now, politically speaking. (Hey, you guys heard anything about this La Puerta del Sol thing?) So, the thing is, we aren't really paying that much attention to Barrow, and it's pretty much accepted as gospel that he's trying to run to the right, in order to avoid being labeled with the dreaded l-word.
But, by writing in, Barrow (and his communications staff) have turned a one-day story into a minor campaign issue. Left alone, this story doesn't go anywhere. Heck, we're not even sure that Max Burns (Barrow's ostensible opponent next year) would have picked up on it. And, even if ol' Maxie and the RNC did pick up on it, they've got better things to use against Barrow than this. The best thing to do was to let this go, and if you're really worried about it, go make some new news, instead of rehashing the old stuff.
Instead, though, Barrow chose to respond, and in a matter that was more defensive than statesmanlike to boot. As a result, what was a one-day story now has more legs. Granted, if Barrow's folks don't talk about it any more, then chances are the story dies now. Of course, there's always the chance that the Visitations might decide to respond now, and suddenly a story becomes a Story.
Worse though, is that a response actually makes Barrow more vulnerable to attack on the issue, because we've got a news story that says Barrow (via his staff) promised the band a flag, then, one week later, a letter from Barrow denying it. And what's the favorite epithet thrown at Kerry by Bush, and by extension at Democrats everywhere by Republicans everywhere?
And whether this is a flip-flop or not, Barrow just left himself wide open to have it thrown at him.
You might think that this is a lot of ink for one minor misstep. And you'd be right. Except for one thing. This is really symptomatic of why Barrow is going to be in trouble. Because what's logical in DC is just silly back home.
Eeeerbody in the club gettin' tips. Including us.