One Childish Ad
by Charles Lemos, Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:55:50 PM EST
I'm not quite sure what Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas was thinking when she commissioned this ad billing herself as "one tough lady" casting herself as if she were the sole adult in a Congress of children. Whatever her motives, it is fair to suggest that Senator Lincoln is not exactly contributing to a dignified image of the Senate among her constituents given her portrayal of the Democratic-led Senate as a kindergarten.
In the 30 second spot, the first of her re-election campaign, she touts her opposition to the TARP, the auto industry rescue, the public option and the cap-and trade energy bill.
"This is why I voted against giving more money to Wall Street, against the auto company bailout, against the public option health care plan, and against the cap and trade bill that would have increased energy costs for Arkansans," Senator Lincoln informs us. "None of those were right for Arkansas. Some in my party didn't like it very much. But I approve this message because I don't answer to my party. I answer to Arkansas."
By Arkansas, she meant Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods. And while Senator Lincoln is opposed to bailouts, she is quite the fan of agricultural subsidies. During her tenure in the Senate, this subsidy queen has helped secure $4.7 billion in subsidies to the Arkansas rice industry. One company alone, Ricelands Foods, has been the recipient of US agricultural subsidies totaling more than a half a billion dollars between 1999 and 2007. In 2002, the $110 million received by Riceland Foods that year was more than Washington gave to every farmer in 12 other states combined. Blanche Lincoln not so good for the citizens of Arkansas but great for corporate Arkansas.
The conservative Democrat, who is currently serving her second term, has drawn a primary challenge from the left of her party. After announcing his candidacy this past Monday, Arkansas Lt. General Bill Halter Halter has attracted the support of organized labor, MoveOn.org, and Democracy for America, the group started by Howard Dean, and numerous progressive blogs including this one. So far, Halter has raised some $5 million since announcing.
Politico has more details on the left's rapid embrace of Bill Halter.
Virtually overnight, outside groups have erased the seemingly insurmountable financial advantage Lincoln brought to the contest. On Tuesday, an umbrella of four labor groups that have long been frustrated over Lincoln’s refusal to support card check legislation — the AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, AFSCME and United Steelworkers of America — jointly announced they were each pledging to spend $1 million in an all-out effort to dislodge Lincoln.
By Wednesday morning, a coalition of liberal organizations led by MoveOn.org — which blasted out a fundraising appeal calling Lincoln “one of the worst Democratic senators” — had raised an eye-popping $1.1 million for Halter, Arkansas’s lieutenant governor, who announced his candidacy Monday. The Sierra Club, meanwhile, announced it was going up with a radio ad blasting Lincoln for her effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
The progressive Netroots, for its part, has embraced Halter, with Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas writing, “Bill Halter will rescue the Democratic establishment from itself and help us hold a seat Lincoln is guaranteed to lose.” Firedoglake blogger Jane Hamsher prominently featured Halter in fundraising appeals on her site and blasted Lincoln as a “corporatist.”
For liberals, discouraged over the inability to push through a sufficiently progressive agenda in President Barack Obama’s first year in office, the opportunity to take down Lincoln, a two-term incumbent who has opposed high-profile items ranging from cap and trade to the public option for health reform, is proving to be irresistible.
“Blanche Lincoln has become the living, breathing symbol of a politician who represents the interests of their corporate donors over those of their constituents,” said Hamsher, whose Accountability Now PAC has endorsed Halter.
For what it is worth, Lincoln's ad is set to run across Arkansas on network and cable television for the next week.