Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will Arkansas Voters Decide They've Had Enough Of Blanche Lincoln?


Yesterday, as expected, Lincoln voted against the public option in the Senate Finance Committee-- twice. She has a history of always sticking with her campaign donors when what they want conflicts with what Arkansas voters want. In this case only 38% of Arkansas voters-- almost all of them Republicans-- oppose the public option. 81% of Arkansas Democrats support the public option-- as do 55% of all Arkansas voters. During the committee markup process yesterday John Ensign taunted the Democrats on the committee by asking them why they couldn't pass a public option in the Senate with such large majorities in the country wanting it. Unlike almost everything Ensign said yesterday, this is a worthwhile question to ponder.

In fact when polling companies have asked voters in conservative-leaning states and districts if they will be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who votes to kill the public option, the answer is consistently coming back that it would make them less likely to vote for that candidate. Lincoln can hardly afford to lose any of her base. Her unfavorability rating is 49% (favorables are down to 43%) and so far the only thing keeping her from joining the ranks of the political walking dead is the fact that the Republicans can't come up with a credible opponent. (In fact yesterday the first poll came out showing her actually losing to any Republican who runs against her.) No one is polling the impact of the two independents in the race, Trevor Drown and Green Party nominee John Gray. Gray, a single payer advocate didn't mince words in his analysis of what happened yesterday in the Senate:
I’m not at all surprised. She has a rather large campaign chest, almost half of which is from the medical industries. The fact that she is loyal to her sponsors is not at all surprising... Eliminate the health care insurance industry… and you would save enough money to cover every man woman and child in the United States. Nobody blinks an eyelash if we lay off 40,000 autoworkers, who actually produce something. These health insurance brokers, it’s hard to say what they produce.”

The answer to Ensign's question applies equally to Democrats and Republicans. Most of the Senators on the Finance Committee should be in prison for taking bribes. Some, like Baucus, Grassley and Lincoln, have allowed the special interests over whose fate they were sitting-- the Insurance Industry and the Medical-Industrial Complex-- to finance their political careers. Not having the ethical compass or the common decency to recuse themselves after finding themselves in a direct conflict of interest between their donors and their constituents should mean they spend the rest of their days behind bars. But it's America... so forget that.

This afternoon while Grassley was babbling on incoherently I took a short break and ran down to the Blue America P.O. Box where I found the latest report of our cable TV ads running, this time in Benton and Washington counties. The ads ran on a Thursday and Friday night when she was speaking in the area. They ran on Larry King Live, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Colbert Report, The O'Reilly Factor, Headline News, Countdown With Keith Olberman, Hardball, The Chainsaw Massacre, Anderson Cooper 360, Showbiz Tonight, The Ed Show, Fast Money, CNN Newsroom and lots of other similar programs-- Nancy Grace and Shepard Smith but no Glenn Beck.

Keep in mind that Tom Harkin told The Hill yesterday that he feels he has enough Democrats, now that Massachusetts has their second seat covered, to break the Republican filibuster, get a bill with a public option onto the floor and pass it with 51 votes. That isn't reconciliation; that's simple cloture and majority rule. Would anyone break from the party and vote with the Republicans to filibuster the bill? Look at the photo up top; those are the two. The more female-looking one is Senator Blanche Lincoln. (The less female-looking one is Ben Nelson.) Those are the only two who could conceivably keep the public option from even reaching the floor. Lincoln, who also opposes climate and energy legislation and has already declared that she will join the Republicans in filibustering Employee Free Choice, is not a good player. She doesn't deserve another term. You say, "neither do Nelson, Baucus or Conrad?" I agree. But they're not up for election in 2010. Lincoln is.

We'd like to run some more ads. In fact, we're going to. If we raise enough money we'll put them on network TV. If not, we'll keep running them on cable. The 3 ads are on the Blue America Campaign For Health Care Choice page, which is also where you can donate to the cost of running more spots if you're so inclined.

UPDATE: Bye-Bye Blanche?

Although Rasmussen has been discredited as a reliable source of polling data-- we have a post coming up at 2pm explaining this-- it's still worth noting that they are another firm, even if a compromised one, showing that Blanche Lincoln is likely to be looking for a new line of work next year.
Arkansas' Blanche Lambert Lincoln trails all four of her leading Republican challengers in the first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 survey in the state.

Lincoln fails to get 50% of the vote in any of the match-ups, and any incumbent who falls short of that level is considered vulnerable.

And here's some of the right-leaning twisting of facts that has made Rasmussen a joke: "The two-term senator, who was reelected with 54% of the vote in 2004, is perhaps made more vulnerable by her seat on the Senate Finance Committee which is now wrestling with the national health care reform plan, a measure which is highly unpopular in Arkansas. Just today she voted against including in the bill the controversial “public option” being pushed by liberal senators in her party."

Unbiased polling firms have shown that Arkansas voters overwhelmingly favor a public option. The Republican Rasmussen firm implies the opposite and implies that Lincoln is failing because she is identified with "liberals." The monkey business of tampering with numbers is what we'll be discussing at 2pm (PT) though.

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At 10:56 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

For more on John Gray's response to Blanche Lincoln voting against the public option, check out

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Obviously the threat of a challenge is not sufficient to dissuade her from her CorpoRat/WalMart loyalties...How will replacing Lincoln with a Puke--who, for partei solidarity, must vote to oppose any progressive legislation--help the majority of Arkansans who want a public option?

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Come Ride The Whale said...

Cries of, "Off with her head" are premature. Let's see if she votes against cloture. Her committee votes don't mean a thing. There are already more than the 51 votes needed to pass the public option in the Senate. The crucial vote concerns stopping the Republican filibuster. As long as she sticks with the party leadership on that point it is ridiculous to replace her with a Republican in the next election. If she joins the filibuster than by all means she should be replaced.


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