Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Primary Day!


Obama taped a very effective spot for reactionary Blue Dog and anti-healthcare fanatic John Barrow in 2008-- a tape that is believed to have been decisive in the conservative Georgian's win over progressive state Senator Regina Thomas-- so why should anyone be surprised that Obama taped a similar message for conservative Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln in a last minute push to help her overcome a surging Bill Halter. Ironically, Halter can stop Republican bailout supporter John Boozman in November; Lincoln wouldn't have a chance.
This call illustrates the degree to which this race has put Obama in direct confrontation with the big unions, who are among his most powerful backers. After all, despite Obama's praise of Lincoln's healthcare record, this is one key reason why labor is working so hard to defeat her. She voted against the reconciliation package and opposed the public option. (She did support the final bill, which did bar discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.)

Lincoln, of course, also came out against the Employee Free Choice Act, labor's top priority.

And finally, Obama is declaring her to be on the side of workers, even though Lincoln has sought to paint Halter's labor backing as a negative, suggesting that his support from "Washington D.C. unions" is a sign that he's a tool of national liberal groups.

I'm more surprised that the White House abandoned the equally unattractive pseudo-Democrat from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, who Obama has been helping until this past weekend when it became clear that Sestak had all the momentum going into today's vote and that Specter can no longer even make a pretense of hiding his advanced and debilitating senility. Even Specter's biggest advocates, Joe Biden and Ed Rendell, are ready to accept the inevitable. Here again is the clip Ken showed last night of Specter in Erie yesterday unable to figure out who he's running against:

One final indignity for Specter yesterday. All weekend he was telling people that the vote would be close and that it will come down to who does best in the African-American community in Philly. Despite desperate pleas from Specter, Obama is refusing to come campaign for him. And yesterday it became even clearer that he wouldn't be the big winner in the African-American precincts.
To calls of "amen" from one of Tuesday's most critical voting blocs, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) accepted the endorsement of a dozen African-American clergy members and officials as he barnstormed the state in the campaign's heated final hours.

"Hope's not enough," Sestak said Monday outside New Hope Baptist Church in South Philadelphia. While the city's largest black clergy group has aligned itself with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in Tuesday's down-to-the-wire primary, Sestak has targeted Specter's positions from the 28 years the senator was a Republican to try to peel away voters worried about violent crime and jobs programs in the inner city.

Sestak brings with him to every stop in Philadelphia a Specter campaign flier criticizing Sestak for getting an "F" grade from the NRA. Distributed in gun-friendly western Pennsylvania, Sestak is using it as a wedge against Specter in Philadelphia, citing the five-term incumbent's past opposition to the assault weapons ban.

Some African-American clergy cited Specter's role supporting Republican nominees to the Supreme Court-- including Justice Clarence Thomas-- as reasons for opposing him.
Clarence Pemberton Jr., New Hope's pastor, pointed to Specter's 1991 cross-examination of Anita Hill, the law professor who accused Thomas of sexual harassment. "I don't understand how a black woman can vote for him," Pemberton told reporters.

...Sestak made an argument from electability, pointing to polls showing he currently would perform better than Specter against Toomey. "Politically, he will take down the whole ticket," Sestak said in an interview.

State Rep. Tony Payton Jr., 29, a second-term lawmaker, said Sestak's key will be reminding voters, particularly African-Americans, of the contrast between the two candidates' voting records on key domestic policy issues.

"There's a stark comparison there," Payton, who represents North Philadelphia, said.

And grassroots Democrats-- unlike the careerist shills Inside the Beltway-- know that wearing a blue shirt doesn't make someone a Democrat. Your beliefs do or-- in the case of Snarlin' Arlen-- don't.

The differences between Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak are like a chasm. We're counting on Bill Halter being significantly different from Blanche Lincoln as well. And the differences between conservative bigot Dan Mongiardo and Jack Conway... let's face it: Mongiardo has way more in common with Mitch McConnell than he does with Democrats. DWT readers should know by this time we're alreaddy urging our friends in Kentucky to reject conservative Dan Mongiardo and vote for Jack Conway. A little reminder why:

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