Media Awareness Project

Good Riddance Bob Barr!


DrugSense FOCUS Alert #253 Wed. August 21, 2002

The stunning and overwhelming defeat of Bob Barr (R-GA) in the Georgia primaries yesterday bodes very well for those who are working towards more rational and sensible drug policies. Barr was targeted for defeat by the Libertarian Party and other drug reform advocates as one of the most rabid and irrational supporters of our failed drug policy. For a drug war Zealot to be so soundly defeated may begin to send the message to the rest of Congress that supporting the drug war may result in more politicians becoming unemployed.

Unfortunately the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Barr's primary local newspaper, completely missed what was the likely a key reason for Barr's defeat. Over the past two weeks, Barr's Libertarian opponent, Carole Ann Rand, flooded Georgia's 7th District with more than 4,000 TV spots. The ads feature a multiple sclerosis victim who lashes out against the Congressman for his crusade against medical marijuana.

Please write a letter to the AJC expressing your views on Bob Barr, his drug war Zealotry, and the lack of coverage on the drug policy reform groups opposing him and who likely led to his defeat.

Thanks for your effort and support.

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Atlanta Journal Constitution


Newshawk: Cheryl Miller's cherylheart> Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Pubdate: Aug 21,2002
Address: 72 Marietta Street, NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30303
Copyright: 2002 Cox Interactive Media.

Republicans pick low-key candidate

U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, a conservative Republican perhaps best known for his attempts to drive President Clinton out of the White House, conceded shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday to fellow Republican Rep. John Linder in their primary election contest to represent the 7th Congressional District.

The Associated Press declared Linder the winner shortly after 10 p.m.

The lopsided results marked the end of a sometimes slapstick race characterized by insults, one-liners, a controversy over a cartoon character and the accidental shooting of a gun. The district is heavily Republican, but Linder will face Democrat Michael Berlon in the November general election.

With eyes misting and his wife, Jeri, by his side, Barr hugged and thanked supporters who crowded into the 1818 Club in Duluth.

"We've been watching the numbers, and they don't look nearly as good as we would have hoped," the 53-year-old congressman told a somber crowd of 300, many with tears in their eyes.

Barr congratulated Linder, pledged his support and paid homage to hundreds of campaign workers who went door to door, made telephone calls and hung Bob Barr literature on doorknobs in the heated, sometimes nasty campaign.

"We've accomplished as a team more than any other congressman accomplishes in an entire lifetime and I appreciate that," Barr said.

Linder, a low-key lawmaker known for working behind the scenes, expressed his gratitude to supporters next door at the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center.

"He ran a good campaign. We ran a better one," said Linder, 59.

Barr, the sober-faced and outspoken congressman often depicted as a bulldog, watched results come in privately, holed up in a Duluth hotel room, and later conceded to supporters quietly.

Linder, a soft-spoken policy expert who almost seems to avoid the public eye, laughed with about 200 supporters in the civic center ballroom.

Both incumbents, Linder in office for 10 years and Barr for eight, came to do battle after the redistricting process Democrats controlled in 2000 pitted them against each other.

At first, both kept to their promise to run a clean campaign. But as time passed and opinion polls showed the two in a virtual dead heat, the nastiness emerged.

Barr made fun of the fact that Linder often declines to give an opinion on issues, saying he has no right to insert himself into people's lives. A Barr commercial portrayed Barr as a bulldog and Linder as a whining, whimpering dachshund. Linder touted himself as a family man, married to his wife, Lynne, for 39 years, while he spoke of Barr's three marriages.

Linder teased Barr about an incident in which an antique gun accidentally fired in the home of a Barr supporter while Barr and another person were handling it. Days later, a Linder supporter dressed as the cartoon character Yosemite Sam, known for shooting off pistols, mingled at a pro-Barr event, touting himself as Barr's "personal gun safety trainer." Adding steam to the fracas was a video on an Internet Web site that showed Barr's adult son, Derek, shoving the man dressed as Yosemite Sam.

Late Tuesday night, Linder supporters -- mingling in the ballroom and surrounded by red, white and blue balloons imprinted with "Linder" -- said they believe the negative campaigning hurt Barr. They also said Barr was perceived as an outsider.

"The reality is that Bob Barr appeals to a small number of people who believe you get things done by yelling and screaming," said B.J. Van Gundy, Linder's campaign manager in Gwinnett County. "John Linder thinks like the majority. You work with people to get things done."

Linder's approval ratings were high before the race started, added Ed Brookover, a Linder campaign consultant. "In the end, what came through was that John was a solid leader," Brookover said.

The contest would have been disappointing to Georgia Republicans no matter what the outcome, said U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson, a Republican.

"We had two good men and we lost one," Isakson said. "Redistricting is a process which sometimes has unfortunate results. This time and in this case, it resulted in two incumbents having to challenge one another. It's just disappointing."

Staff writers Brian Feagans, Paul Donsky, Rhonda Cook and Bill Torpy contributed to this report

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Unfortunately the New York Times also failed to acknowledge the importance of the drug policy reform movement in playing an important role in Barr's defeat.

Please send a copy your letter to the New York Times. At this writing the article was not in the MAP archive but you can use this information for reference:

New York Times
August 21, 2002

A Bush Foe and a Clinton One Are Ousted in Georgia Primaries By STEVEN A. HOLMES

Please write your local newspapers on this subject as well.

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Good Riddance Bob Barr!

Dear Editor:

I find it quite perplexing that your coverage on the landslide defeat of drug war Zealot Bob Barr (Republicans Pick Low-Key Candidate AJC 8/21) made no mention whatever of the one factor that may have been the most important in bringing about Barr's historic loss.

Over the past two weeks, Barr's Libertarian opponent, Carole Ann Rand, flooded Georgia's 7th District with more than 4,000 TV spots. The ads feature a multiple sclerosis victim who lashes out against the Congressman for his crusade against medical marijuana.

There can be little question that the American public is far ahead of the curve in realizing that the drug war has failed miserably and that support for the drug war has dwindled significantly in recent years. Barr's defeat would seem to verify this theory quite convincingly.

Barr is but the first political casualty of many to come if our elected representatives continually fail to grasp that the drug war is no longer supported by their constituents. Bringing a sensible end to our failed and very expensive "war on drugs" is becoming a major consideration amongst voters.

Among Barr's most egregious actions was his un Constitutional blocking of the will of the voters when Washington D.C. overwhelmingly passed an initiative to allow sick and dying patients access to the medicinal use of cannabis and Barr subsequently blocked the implementation of this initiative.

Good Riddance Bob Barr!

Mark Greer [address and phone number]

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