Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bill Halter Is The Democrat Running Against Blanche Lincoln, Far And Away The Worst Democratic Senator Up For Re-election This Year


Even before Blanche Lincoln killed Employee Free Choice by publicly stating, at a Chamber of Commerce event, no less, that she would join the Republican filibuster of EFCA there were people working on ways to dislodge one of the most reactionary-- actually the second most-- and one of the most corrupt Democrats in the Senate. Yes, and that predated her decision to sell herself totally to Big Insurance and leave the Arkansas Democratic voters who have been her base for her entire career high and dry-- and uninsured. (Only Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer-- both in home states of the Insurance Industry-- have gotten bigger pay-off than Blanche Lincoln in the current election cycle. She's even gotten more than any of the worst Republican insurance business shills, Chuck Grassley to Richard Burr!) Blue America's role has been running a series of very effective TV ads in the Arkansas Democratic heartland, her old turf. Largely because these people now see her for what she is-- a dedicated servant of the special interests-- she is no longer electable.

A few days ago, we added Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's donation box to both our dedicated Blanche page and to the Sending Democrats A Message page. What about the main Blue America page, the one with Alan Grayson, Marcy Winograd, Billy Kennedy, and Craig Pridemore? Uh... not yet. No one gets on that page without a very specific discussion about campaign finance reform, Afghanistan, civil liberties and protections for minorities, healthcare reform, and politics in general. No one gets up on that page until we feel pretty confident that if they get into Congress, they'll be working for ordinary American families, not for special interests. We requested an interview with the Lt. Governor. No answer yet...

Meanwhile, we're hearing all kinds of things about him, everything from him being a sterling progressive hero and a true blue something or other to him being worse or as bad as... Blanche Lincoln. A Ben Nelson doppleganger? We're taking it all with a grain of salt. Asking people to donate scarce money-- money we'd like to see contributed to proven progressives like Alan Grayson and Marcy Winograd-- to deal a resounding defeat to Blanche Lincoln is a very worthy goal. (Please give here if you are so inclined.) But declaring someone the candidate of our dreams... we learned that lesson and its dangers with Chris Carney in 2006, who had studied carefully what to tell progressives eager to hear the right thing, only to take our money, get elected and turn around and join the Blue Dogs and vote for bigotry and hatred and a corporate agenda.

Tuesday Lara Bergthold and Doug Kahn wrote a post, Is Halter A Progressive We Can Trust? that looks at it from very diverse perspectives. Lara has known and worked with him and is horrified that some-- including professional spinmeisters-- are trying to sell him as a progressive and a populist and that no one seems to be asking him the tough questions we ask all the candidates we endorse and raise money for these days. She remembers him as "a conservative Democrat who consistently and loudly touted his pro-military, pro-business beliefs" all during the Wes Clark For President Campaign, of which she was the National Political Director. Knowing full well of how truly horrible Lincoln has proven herself, Lara is urging people to slow down and take a closer look.

Doug was more-- no offense-- cynical. He seems to assume that most politicians are corrupt, self-serving buckets of slime by nature and he says it doesn't matter in this case. He has very low expectations for Halter but made a generous contribution because he wants to see Blanche defeated and because he thinks a concerted effort to raise money for Halter will encourage other politicians to address progressives seriously. "I don’t really give a rat’s ass," he wrote, "if Bill Halter believes the progressive arguments he’s mouthing. I just want him to jump on the progressive bandwagon... He’s helping make the political world safe for progressives, including all of you. If Halter flames out badly in fundraising, it makes us look like the pajama-clad slackers that Rahm and Company think we are. If he does well, we look good. If you really need to sit around nattering about Purity of Essence, well, go ahead and be like that."

Take a look at Halter on Ed Schultz and see what you make of him yourself:

A diarist at Daily Kos, ProgressiveArkDemocrat has a less kind outlook, perhaps worth considering (although commenters there seem to have already made up their mind), and Rachel Maddow's perspective is... always worth taking a look at:

UPDATE: Emily's List Weighs In-- Against Blanche!

A memo from Ellen Malcolm says it all very effectively:
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is fighting for her political survival. Republicans are in full attack mode, and polls indicate she's the most vulnerable Senate incumbent in the country.

Frankly, I'm not surprised.

As I travel around the country, I've been asked repeatedly about Senator Lincoln's political troubles and what, if anything, EMILY's List will be doing to help her win a third term in 2010.

My answer? Nothing.

In 1998, EMILY's List helped elect Lincoln to the U.S. Senate. We believed her when she told us that that, if and when the Senate took up right-wing Senator Rick Santorum's bill to ban what he called "partial birth" abortion, she would insist on a health exception that protects women.

Our members gave generously to her campaign, believing that she would steadfastly stand by the pledge she made to us to protect women's reproductive freedom.

She took our members' hard-earned money to get elected. Unfortunately, when the Santorum bill came up for a vote, Lincoln voted for it even though it provided no exception to protect women's health.

EMILY's List members are deeply committed to electing pro-choice Democratic women whom we trust to stand up for our rights, treat us honestly, and make us proud. Our candidates fight for us every day. Blanche Lincoln failed to hold up her end of the bargain.

Since she wasn't there for us, we won't be there for her.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous wjbill said...

why isn't FDL part of the blue America page?

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ProgressiveArkDemocrat is Drew Prewitt. A crank that lives in Arkansas who himself is running for the Senate.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

wjbill, FDL is doing their own thing and has its own PACs and initiatives.

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

The worst Dem, Howie? Not Ben "let's talk until we kill whatever we're talking about" Nelson? Well, I'll give you she's against her agenda, but look at it this way: if this nation ever becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart, they'll rename the capitol after her.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Balakirev, Ben Nelson is the worst Democrat in the Senate hands down. But he isn't up for re-election this year. Blanche, the second worst overall, is up for re-election.

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Carter said...

We're not going to get a raging liberal from conservative Arkansas, particularly one that is pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-military over reach. The best we can do is get a Democrat that is an economic populist & for social programs. Halter fits the bill & I'm enthusiastic in supporting him. What I also like about him is that he's previously won & is running against the Arkansas Democratic establishment.

Regarding Rep Carney (I live in his very conservative district in NE Pa.), his voting record is about as liberal as you can get in this socially conservative district. He votes with us on progressive economic issues, voted against the Wall Street bailout, is for national healthcare & social program expansion, approves of reregulation, supported Obama's stimuli packages. He's at the outer wall of what you can be for & get reelected. BTW, I'm far left but live in the real world.

At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since she wasn't there for us, we won't be there for her.

Wow, change a pronoun or two, and that could be the progressive slogan for 2010.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dem's are a joke, and still don't see the writing on the wall. If you wan't to be a progressive or communist, China is hiring.


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