In a series of tweets last year, Darcy Burner, one of the Democratic candidates in the crowded field going for Jay Inslee's open seat in the 1st Congressional District, lambasted President Obama.
In one from August 2011, Burner wrote: "In 2008, I gave thousands to @BarackObama. OFA [Obama for America] called recently for $, I told them not 1 dime: I don't support Republicans."
Also in August, she added: "@BarackObama isn't a bad Democrat — because he's not a Democrat. He's a Republican. In that context his choices make sense."
Earlier in the year, in February, commenting on someone else's tweet lamenting that Obama is not a progressive, Burner tweeted: "This is news, that progressives have lost with this president? Barack Obama is (sadly) neither a progressive nor a populist."
And in a tweet from December 2011, Burner calls on Obama's AG Eric Holder to resign.
Ironically, Burner's current campaign literature features a picture of Obama's family, along with an Obama quote about defending the middle class.
Burner told PubliCola this afternoon: "My frustration that's reflected in the tweets was about him putting medicare and social security on the table as something to be negotiated over in conversations about, for instance, the debt ceiling."[pullquote]"I've been pretty transparent in my efforts to get him to stop thinking that moderate Republican ideas are the only things he ought to pursue."—Burner defends her anti-Obama tweets.[/pullquote]
And she added: "The degree to which he [Obama] has given Republicans things with no hope that they would ever be reasonable themselves—has been frustrating to many of us. That being said he absolutely has my support. Do I think he's better than any of the Republican presidential candidates? Absolutely. Have I given him money? Yes. Will he have my vote in November? Absolutely."
Burner did not remember the tweet about AG Holder, but says she has called on him to prosecute banks that have illegally foreclosed on Americans serving overseas.
Burner, a netroots star among lefty Democrats nationwide in her losing 2008 campaign against Republican US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ), went on to become the executive director of ProgressiveCongress.org, a group that pushed for a more progressive Democratic agenda in DC, most notably advocating for the public option. Burner says, "Was I working at an organization that was trying to pull what the Congress and the president did to the left? Absolutely, and I haven't made any secret of that. I've been pretty transparent in my efforts to get him to stop thinking that moderate Republican ideas are the only things he ought to pursue."
All the Democrats in Burner's current race support the public option, and judging from last week's Washington State Labor Council debate, are left-to-progressive (except state Sen. Steve Hobbs).
However, the newly drawn 1st Congressional District is swing turf—it stretches from the Microsoft suburbs north through Snohomish, Skagit, and rural Whatcom Counties up to the Canadian border—and conventional wisdom says the winning Democrat needs to be moderate.
Burner disagrees. "I think it's based on a complete misunderstanding of how politics actually works," she says. "It turns out that voters actually like people who have principles and are clear on their values. If we actually want to win in this district we have to give people something to get excited about and vote for someone who's going to fight for them. And the idea that having a mealy mouthed politician that they can't trust is a better strategy is counterfactual."