Getting to Blanche. President Obama scolds Blanche Lincoln over her cowardly stance

There’s a reason Blue America PAC targeted Blanche Lincoln over the summer: She’s a ConservaDem who is up for reelection and was standing with the health-insurance industry over average working Americans. Our Campaign For Health Care Choice action raised enough money to blanket the state of Arkansas with ads that demanded she vote for change in our health care system. If you can, please continue to donate.

During Obama’s conference with Senate Democrats yesterday, Lincoln whined to the president like a good little neo-Republican and asked him to moderate and bow down to Republicans. Have you ever heard of such a thing being said from a party member to its own president?

In one key exchange this morning, Obama rebuked pleas from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that he moderate his agenda and work with Republicans to ease the current state of economic uncertainty.

Lincoln described a constituent who she said was “extremely frustrated because there was a lack of certainty and predictability from his government for him to be able to run his businesses.”

She asked: “Are we willing, as Democrats, not only to reach out to Republicans, but to push back in our own party for people who want extremes, and look for the common ground that’s going to get us the success that we need not only for our constituents, but for our country, in this global community, in this global economy?”

Wow, I didn’t know trying to fight for the public option and the best possible health care system is considered extreme in her mind. See, we’re the bad guys and not the idiots who littered the town-hall meetings flinging racial insults and bizarre conspiracy theories around like they were candy. Rahm uttered his stupid remark behind closed doors, but conservatives are out front with their lunacy. President Obama then calls out Blanche.

From there, Obama turned to a more pointed critique of Lincoln’s argument. “If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression — we don’t tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don’t put in place any insurance reforms, we don’t mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they’re doing now because we don’t want to stir up Wall Street — the result is going to be the same,” he said. “I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place.”

Middle class Americans, Obama said, “are more and more vulnerable, and they have been for the last decade, treading water. And if our response ends up being, you know, because we don’t want to — we don’t want to stir things up here, we’re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don’t know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.”

It’s doubtful that Obama has really learned his lesson about these Senate “moderates”. But it’s good to see him finally drawing a line.

This is the type of argument from Obama that a lot of Democrats, and not just progressives, have longed to hear. While a united Republican opposition has clearly slowed down his legislative agenda, it has been the conservative Democrats in the Senate who have punctured enormous holes in it.

The White House has largely coddled these four or five Senators, at least in public, in hopes of gradually winning over their support. The White House declined to criticize Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for holding up health-care reform over a public option — even while lashing out at former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean when he said the bill should be stopped because it lacked the public plan.


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