No, that's not how I feel. Few things would make me happier than seeing my senior Senator, Richard Shelby, get beat like a drum this November or any November.
The quote is from an Alabama Democrat, and not just any Democrat, either. It's from Alabama Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ron Sparks -- the guy supposedly leading the Democratic ticket -- speaking to the Tuscaloosa News last week, giving props to union-buster Shelby for keeping Redstone Arsenal and other Alabama military installations open. Way to stand up for your party, Mr. Sparks, way to parrot GOP talking points and way to snub Democrat William G. Barnes who is running an uphill campaign against Shelby and his $17 million little green friends. The full quote from Sparks is below the fold.
"I don’t want Richard Shelby getting beat," he said. "I want Richard Shelby helping me to save the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. I want Richard Shelby to help me when we start looking at military closures in Alabama because they are extremely important. Can you imagine the economic impact of the military leaving Alabama?"
Sparks said, "It is time to roll up our sleeves, take those ‘Rs’ and ‘Ds’ off our shoulder and work together in Alabama."
Richard Shelby opposes everything Democrats want to do, from preserving the domestic auto industry (and the jobs it provides) to weaning America off fossil fuels to including consumer protection in the recent financial reform package. He leaked highly sensitive, classified information to Fox News -- that would be treason if a Democrat did it but Shelby got off without even a slap on the wrist. Shelby held up 70 Obama appointments trying to gain leverage for a piece of pork, AND he steered millions in earmarks to former employees. No repercussions. He's a turncoat who has done his damnedest to throw a monkey wrench into not one, but two Democratic administrations. He isn't sure Barack Obama was born in the United States. He's the worst of the worst.
Why on earth would the Democrat leading the ticket praise Shelby and hope for his re-election -- against a progressive Democrat?
Just as important, where is the hue and cry from the Democratic Party?
There isn't one. No statement from the Alabama Democratic Party affirming their support for Barnes and desire to defeat Shelby. No rebuke from labor leaders for supporting Shelby's candidacy even after Shelby's blatant union-busting attempt to block the automaker bridge loans in 2008-09.
In fact, General Wesley Clark is headlining a fundraiser for Sparks tomorrow and President Bill Clinton will host a $1000 per person event for him on Thursday. So far the only hue and cry has been from a few liberal blogs and Sparks' Facebook fans. Enough of them have expressed disappointment and outrage that Sparks issued this denial on his FB page:
This was not an endorsement of Sen. Shelby. It was an acknowledgement that I will work with him across party lines to create new jobs in Alabama and that federal money plays an important role in Alabama's economy. Our problems are so great they can only be solved by all of us working together, and I will unite with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to get my top priority done: bringing good jobs to the working families of Alabama.
Which is unadulterated eyewash, as it totally fails to address the money quote:
"I don’t want Richard Shelby getting beat."
By definition, if you don't want Richard Shelby getting beat, you want him to win ... which means you want Democrat Bill Barnes to get beat. It means you like the Party of NO shutting down the US Senate to stop any and all Democratic initiatives. That's unacceptable coming from the guy at the top of the Democratic ticket in any state, even Alabama. Sparks needs to deny the quote (risky, since the reporter apparently videotaped the interview) or admit he goofed, apologize to Barnes, and endorse him. Ten to one he will do neither, just duck his head and wait for everyone to conveniently forget about the Shelby endorsement. They count on Democrats having short memories in Alabama ... it's sure worked in the past.