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 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. 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.
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? ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln 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.
Blue America helped bring Blanche’s approval ratings down with our initial ad campaign against her months ago when nobody was talking about her and we want to keep her accountable. Campaign For Health Care Choice has rocked and I want to thank you. Keep helping if you can.