The Corner

How Eric Holder Ended Bob Barr’s Political Career

Many who remember Bob Barr as one of the hard-charging managers of Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the 1990s were surprised to see the former congressman from Georgia utterly crushed this week in his attempt to return to the U.S. House. Barr lost to former state senator Barry Loudermilk by 66 percent to 34 percent. How could someone who had once been a conservative hero be repudiated by his former constituents in the Atlanta suburbs?

Ultimately, Barr was done in by the zigs and zags of his career since he was redistricted out of his House seat in 2002. He had worked with the ACLU on civil-liberties cases, waged a quixotic campaign for president as the Libertarian Party nominee in 2008, and was seen to have shifted his votes on issues ranging from abortion to marijuana for medical use.

But the issue that hurt Barr the most was his 2009 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging that Eric Holder be swiftly confirmed as President Obama’s attorney general. Holder has since become a nightmare for conservatives, having been held in contempt by the U.S. House for refusing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious scandal and battling Georgia’s voter-ID law.

Barr tried to sidestep the issue by explaining, “My letter was based on my professional association with Holder during his time as an attorney in private practice during the Bush administration.” He said he had since observed Holder “either complicit, or directly involved in a litany of scandals and other problems” and in 2013 had called for his resignation. 

But it was too late. Dan McLagan, a spokesman for Loudermilk, explained that Barr’s endorsement of Holder had been the most important single factor in the race. “Once Barry was able to show voters that Bob Barr endorsed Eric Holder for attorney general, Barr started dropping and never stopped. “

As co-author of a new book with Hans von Spakovsky that details Eric Holder’s career, I can attest to the tremendous anger that Holder engenders among grass-roots conservatives. Bob Barr’s crushing defeat didn’t shock me, because I’ve witnessed just how shocked conservatives have been by Eric Holder’s record.

— John Fund is co-author, with Hans von Spakovsky, of Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department (Broadside Books, 2014).

Most Popular

Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More