Thursday, April 01, 2010

Record Shows A Democrat Named Blanche Lambert Tried Screwing Social Security-- Blanche Lincoln Has A New Name Now... But The Same Conservative Mindset


Blanche Lincoln deserves the electoral defeat coming her way for several reasons and we've mostly concentrated on her predilection for crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans as a default position. In fact, since President Obama has been in the White House, Blanche has been among the worst three Democrats (the other two being Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh) when it comes to voting for ordinary Americans rather than for special interests. She's been with the Democrats 61% of the time on close, substantive votes where she was most needed, compared to 69% for Mark Pryor, 70% for Mary Landrieu and 84% for Joe Lieberman, 3 other ConservaDems she is often associated with. On the last substantive vote before the Senate adjourned last week-- on the healthcare reconciliation bill-- Lincoln was up to her old aisle crossing tricks and voted with the lockstep Republicans against it. In other words, she voted to kill healthcare reform, regardless of the fact that Democrats in her state need it and want it. She handles that problem by blatantly lying in her campaign ads-- especially in African-American parts of the state where she thinks she can pull the wool over people's eyes-- as Ari Berman showed this week at The Nation. She is one sleazy piece of work.

But there's another way of looking at the senior senator from Arkansas. Blanche Lincoln is almost universally considered one of the most ostensibly corrupt members of the U.S. Senate. I thought I'd mention this today because she is going in for a bit of theatrical projection, if not irony, as she viciously attacks her Democratic primary opponent, Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter, for what she claims, falsely, are his ties to BigPharma. Respected Arkansas political columnist John Brummett calls Blanche's latest desperate attack a sample of "the cynical demonization process that is part of a cancer on our politics. It’s not enough to distinguish yourself from your opponent by performance and policy. You must delve into his past and overstate any association that might make him seem more than someone with whom you merely disagree, but someone who is a sinister threat, near-criminal... It’s Blanche, actually, who has a public record that is obliging to multi-national corporations and drug companies. That doesn’t make her a bad person. It makes her a bit of a Republican."

That's an understatement. As the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Blanche is in a prime position to extract maximum (legalized) bribes from ArgriBusiness-- and does she ever! If you ask people around DC who the biggest shills are for AgriBusiness, no list won't include Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has taken $192,750 this year, Richard "Bank Run" Burr (R-NC), who has gobbled down $186,525 this year, and John Thune (R-SD), whose share of the loot was $164,568. And these three whores work hard for the money. But they're pikers compared to Lincoln, who's pocketed (so far, the rate of ingestion has been accelerating) $634,350-- more than the 3 Republican whores combined! Yes, Blanche is #1. But that doesn't mean she hasn't been taking bribes from all the other sectors that the Senate crafting legislation to regulate. In this cycle, for example, she's among the top 10 biggest recipients of "donations" from the financial sector-- $767,000, even more than perennial Wall Street shills like Arlen Specter (R/D-PA- $650,875), David Diapers Vitter (R-LA- $461,591) and Richard "Bank Run" Burr (R-NC- $457,249). And what about the pharmaceutical industry she's accusing Halter of being in bed with? Well, they haven't donated a dime to his campaign but this year, Blanche took in $113,050-- while she was "working" on healthcare legislation that was far too favorable to that industry. Only 4 members of the Senate up for re-election in November got over a hundred grand from Pharma this cycle-- Blanche, Reid, Burr and Specter.

Now let's travel back into Blanche's recent past before she managed to make the jump to the Senate in 1998. As a House member she was even more startlingly right-wing than she is now and, in fact, was one of the few Democrats to go all in on Newt Gingrich's Contract With America. In 1994 she was one of only 28 Democrats to vote for the notorious Stenholm Amendment, cutting Social Security. In those days she was known as Blanche Lambert and she's been successful in ducking her extreme right votes under that name. I bet the teabagger leaders who were on TV yesterday advocating for the end of Social Security would love Lambert/Lincoln.

Blue America hasn't endorsed anyone in the Arkansas Senate race. We're looking at Bill Halter and we're looking at the independents in the race as well. But we've spent enough time looking at Blanche Lincoln/Lambert to know that if we wanted a conservative handmaiden of Big Business interests she would be a perfect fit. But we don't. Which is why we've spent approximately $100,000 on cable TV ads and why we ask people interested in better governance to help us place them in front of Arkansas voters. Here's the most recent one:

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