Monday, August 10, 2009

Blanche Lincoln Is Asking For More TV Ads


Blanche & Ben yucking it up-- worse than Republicans

One of the Senate's most corrupt members, Arkansas reactionary Blanche Lincoln, has taken $469,383 in thinly disguised bribes from the Insurance industry and another $1,523,558 from the Medical-Industrial Complex. Is she in bed with the lobbyists who pay her to vote for their clients' interests instead of her constituents'? Well this year she's in the top 10 of senators favored with "donations" from lobbying firms and in her entire career, she's accepted $433,421 from a category of Inside-the-Beltway parasites whose only substantive function is to bribe legislators.

Blue America ran nearly a thousand cable TV ads across Arkansas in the hope of getting Blanche Lincoln to stop obstructing health care reform. Today I was going over the run in the Ft. Smith market. We had ads on CSI Miami, The Fugitive, Anderson Cooper 360, Larry King Live, CNN Newsroom, Barefoot Contessa, Wild Hogs, The O'Reilly Factor, Time Machine, Ice Road Truckers, Reba, Caught On Camera, The Rock, Law and Order, Saving Grace, The Bourne Supremacy, 40 Year Old Virgin and plenty of similar rubbish. A lot more American Morning, The Situation Room, Sportscenter and Huckabee in Little Rock and History of Sex in Jonesboro.

Lincoln reacted quickly, making noises that sounded like she might take the side of her state's working families for a change, instead of the big Insurance companies that buy her fealty. But, alas, they were only noises. Yesterday one of our friends in Hot Springs forwarded us a form letter she got from Lincoln's office. As though it were written by a real Democrat, it acknowledges that there's a problem. But the conclusion is very disappointing, some of it coming straight from Insurance Industry Talking Points that are routinely parroted by anti-health care fanatics like Mike Pence (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI):
My priority in health reform is to create better access to a range of high quality and more affordable health insurance plans, while protecting what works for Arkansas families and creating greater efficiencies in how our nation delivers care. While I support government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or ARKids First,” as it is known in Arkansas) that provide coverage for specific vulnerable and hard-to-insure populations, I do not support moving America to a nationalized single-payer or “government-run” health care system. Instead, in health care reform I will ensure Arkansans and Americans will have the freedom of choice to keep their current insurance plans and current doctors or choose another plan that better meets their needs. Health care reform should also stop the insurance companies from denying coverage for an illness an individual had five years ago, denying coverage because of some other pre-existing condition, or denying coverage because of age. The goal is to make health care cost less and cover more, and this will take a uniquely American solution that will enable Americans to save by doing their part and making healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and their families.

It sounds to me like Blanche is asking for another round of cable TV ads. Some Democrats worry that she could lose her seat to a Republican. Why worry? She is a Republican-- at least when it really matters. She votes with them and she fights tooth and nail against the most important progressive legislation behind the scenes, watering it down and making it useless, not just the way she is with health care, but something she has also done with Employee Free Choice, in effect killing the bill by declaring her intention of joining the Republicans in a filibuster. So you worry about her losing? It would be a step in the right direction. In the end, for example, she did vote for the Cash For Clunkers bill last week. But the Senate voted 7 times on various amendments and substitutes to HR 3435 that day. The Democrats won all 7 rollcalls, no thanks to Lincoln, who joined Ben Nelson on 3 of them in crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans. It's her modus operandi.

And it isn't as if Arkansas isn't one of the states in direst need for health care reform-- the real kind, not what Blanche and the Insurance companies are offering. When the Center For American Progress looked at the situation in Arkansas, they found a real mess for ordinary working families:
• 80 residents of Arkansas are losing health insurance every day, and 14,000 Americans nationwide lose insurance daily.

• The average family premium in Arkansas costs $1,500 more because our system fails to cover everyone-- and $1,100 more nationally.

• Our broken health insurance system will cost the Arkansas economy as much as $2.4 billion this year in productivity losses due to the uninsured-- and up to $248 billion nationally.

• In Arkansas there has been a 6 percent increase in the uninsured rate since 2007.

• 500,000 are uninsured today in Arkansas.

• In Arkansas the combined market share of the top two insurers is 81 percent, limiting employers’ and families’ health insurance options as well as the care they receive.

• The average family premium will rise from $11,472 to $19,575 by 2019 in Arkansas without health care reform.

• In Arkansas, without health care reform, 72,980 will have lost coverage from January 2008 to December 2010.

• In Arkansas, 243,000 people would gain coverage as a result of the House health care reform bill by 2013, and 391,000 would gain coverage by 2019.

• A typical Arkansas family will pay $19,575 for health coverage in 2019 without health care reform.

Please help us decide which of the 3 TV spots we did should be run next. And if you can afford to chip in for the effort, believe me, even $10 and $20 contributions help make sure the good folks in Texarkana, Arkadelphia, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, Horseshoe Bend and Fayetteville know exactly where their senator stands when it comes to their health care. A lot of people think this ad below is the one we should run next. What do you think?

UPDATE: Blanche Will Talk With Arkansas Voters

Looks like she'll probably get an earful. I can imagine her hearing from normal working families about her attempts to kill health care reform on behalf of her Insurance company CEO donors and lobbyists at the same time the lunatic fringe wingnuts attack her because... well, because that's what lunatic fringe wingnuts do. I wonder if she'll say something similar to Chris Carney when he found out that the wingnuts he's been catering to for the last 3 years hate him: "They should remember that I'm one of the Blue Dogs that slowed the process down so we could have a discussion about this issue." Anyway, here's what she sent us today:
Lincoln will travel the state throughout the annual congressional work period. The following is Lincoln’s schedule of events around the state for August 11-15:

Tuesday, August 11—Little Rock, Malvern

9:10 a.m., Keynote address, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas Seminar, “Connecting Your Business with China.” Lincoln will join the State Chamber/AIA, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas World Trade Center, and business and community leaders to welcome the Chinese Ambassador to the United States. Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham Street, Little Rock.

12:00 p.m., Speak, Lions Club of Malvern. Western Sizzlin Steak House, 621 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Malvern.

Wednesday, August 12—Little Rock

9:00 a.m., Speak, “Jobs for Arkansas” Business Aviation Forum at Dassault Falcon Jet. Lincoln will join Governor Beebe, Senator Pryor, Dassault Falcon employees, and other community and business leaders to discuss the importance of Arkansas’s aviation industry. Dassault Falcon Jet Company, 3801 East 10th Street, Little Rock.

Thursday, August 13—Springdale, Hot Springs, Benton, Little Rock

9:30 a.m., Speak, Association of Arkansas Counties. Northwest Arkansas Holiday Inn & Convention Center, Salons D & E, 1500 South 48th Street, Springdale.

12:00 p.m., Speak, Mental Health Council of Arkansas Conference. Hot Springs Convention Center, 134 Convention Boulevard, Hot Springs.

2:15 p.m., Saline County Economic Development Meeting. Lincoln will join Senator Shane Broadway; Eddie Black, Chamber of Commerce Director; Representative Dawn Creekmore; Representative Ann Clemmers; Mayor Rick Holland; Former Representative Lamont Cornwell, Benton Economic Director. 205 East Street, Benton.

5:30 p.m., Pulaski County Democratic Women, Democratic Party of Arkansas headquarters, 1300 West Capitol Avenue, Little Rock.

Friday, August 14—Little Rock, Pine Bluff

10:15 a.m., Tour, Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits. The Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits is a project of the Women’s Council on African-American Affairs, Inc. Its mission is to promote and nurture individuals in areas of education, economic and community development, healthcare issues, public safety and race relations. The center was created to assist victims of violent crimes and terminal illnesses and their affected families to improve the quality of their economic and social environment, transition back into the workplace and to provide for self-sufficiency. 2416 S. Chester Street, Little Rock.

11:50 a.m., Tour, SEARK College. Lincoln will tour the campus, including the new library and nursing program, and meet with SEARK board members. 1900 S. Hazel Street, Pine Bluff.

1:30 p.m., Reach Out and Read, Flowers Pediatric Clinic. Lincoln has been a champion of the Reach Out and Read (ROR) program, which is a national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud in pediatric exam rooms across the nation. Arkansas is home to 19 ROR sites. Flowers Pediatric Clinic, 316 W. 5th Avenue, Pine Bluff.

Saturday, August 15—Rogers

4:40 p.m., Featured Speaker, Benton County Democratic Committee Political Rally. 1211 Samaritan House, W. Hudson Road, Rogers.

Too late for Malvern but we can certainly get some ads up in time for her Pine Bluff bullshit session. Please donate today.

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At 8:04 AM, Blogger Jack Jodell said...

That's a fabulous ad, and corporate protectors like Lincoln, Baucus, and Nelson ought to be hung at their Town Hall meetings---and not just in eddigy!

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Mistype---I meant "effigy."

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Come Ride The Whale said...

I think you are jumping the gun here. Obama himself would say " I do not support moving America to a nationalized single-payer or government-run health care system". I'm all for keeping the pressure on Blanche but let's be ready to support her if she sides with us on the final vote. Didn't she vote for the recovery act and for "Chip"? A Repub with her seat would not have supported those bills.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Come Ride, you may have missed this video of Obama talking about single payer. He clearly knows it's what's best. But because of corrupt shills like Lincoln, he knows he has to settle for much less (for now). His strategy is to get a robust public option passed which could lead to single payer in the future. The Big Insurance companies understand the strategy and they have their kept-members like Lincoln and Nelson and Bayh-- as well as all the Republicans-- ready to destroy the public option.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Come Ride The Whale said...

DWT--No, I understand that Obama has supported single payer but he is not out there promoting it today because he understands it would not get passed. Perhaps your suspicions of Blanche will prove correct but let's not shoot ourselves in the foot by dumping these conservative Dems only to elect more reactionary Repubs. That's how Nixon and Bush II got elected. If she votes against the final bill, fine, I'll be all in favor of her losing her seat. As Grand Dad used to say, "Don't cry before your hurt".

At 12:02 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Take a look at her voting record; you-- and grandpa-- have been hurt. In fact, there won't even be a vote on Employee Free Choice because she has vowed to join the Republican filibuster of it-- giving them the 41 votes they need to prevent cloture. We won't have another chance to stop her until 1016. She can be counted on doing a great deal of damage between now and then-- which is exactly what lobbyists and CEOs are investing in.

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous nima said...

Dear God, Jack, ix-nay on the ynching-lay. This country's in enough trouble without that crap.

At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jumped over from Hullabaloo. Thx for the info. Live in Central Ark. Will be at the LR gathering with some questions for both my blue dog senators. They both need a wake up call.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

I suspect Lincoln thinks she'll get the Democratic vote anyway, since the alternative is a Republican upsetting that ever-so-important 60 votes which has yielded...well, nothing, but DC pundits have made it sound good, and that's all that counts.

Personally, I'd shove Lincoln out the door in a second, to get in a Republican and a real chance at a decent Democrat the next time around. Except that Arkansas isn't exactly known for its progressive, well-educated citizenry (overall), and if they chose another Democrat for the Senate, it would likely be a Lincoln clone.

Hopefully she still has a tiny pocket of integrity left somewhere, so she can feel shame when those ads run for her supporters. Or Obama and Reid could use some leverage, I suppose, but Obama is too gentlemanly, and Reid seems to have lost in his first days as Majority Leader the manual to influencing senators like his predecessors did.

Course, it helps if you don't give a press conference frowning at those who talk to Republicans about health care compromises, and then get caught doing as much two days later.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Riva said...

This is interesting. My question is, are CATS covered under Obama family health care plan?


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