My musings on Lincoln beating Halter in Arkansas

Blanche advances to the Finals. By which I mean, of course, Blanche Lincoln defeated Bill Halter in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary, with help from the White House, Goldman Sachs, and … well, let’s let Jane Hamsher tell it (my emphases):

Democrats “stuck with Blanche” because she had a gazillion dollars pouring in from the Chamber of Commerce and other shadowy organizations, $3 million in PAC money from the likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Exxon-Mobil and Wal-Mart, the support of the Democratic Party, the current President of the United States Barack Obama, and former President of the United States (and Arkansas native) Bill Clinton, who all were willing to demagogue labor’s support from Halter in an anti-labor state.

Lots to chew on here. Jane didn’t mention BP in her list, but the oily have clearly invested in Blanche (sorry, “contributed to her re-election”), and she’s just returned the favor. From Joe in DC (my emphasis, but this is Joe’s point as well):

Senate just voted down Senator Lisa Murkowski’s anti-environmental resolution to gut the authority of the EPA.

I’ll post the roll call vote when it’s posted. It’s here. Blanche Lincoln did vote with Big Oil and the GOP. Josh Nelson provided the list of the six Dems. who voted Yes: Mark Pryor, Evan Bayh [!!], Ben Nelson, Jay Rockefeller [!!], Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu.

There’s been quite a bit of post-game commentary, both near-term and long. The near-term — Joe again, regarding Chuck Shumer’s fist-pumpy dissing of organized labor, who wanted Halter on top (ok, that pun just writes itself) in Arkansas:

This is getting out-of-control. On Tuesday night, an anonymous “senior White House official” took a nasty swipe at labor.

Via Dana Milbank, here’s Chuck Schumer’s quote in response to Blanche Lincoln’s win:

Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) held up two fists and said of her primary campaign: “Fighting Wall Street with one hand, unions with the other.”

Really, Chuck Schumer?

Joe concludes optimistically, however (my emphasis):

Members of Congress hate primaries. Hate them. Even if they win, they hate them. Labor and progressives almost beat Lincoln in a state that’s not friendly to labor and progressives. Imagine what they can do elsewhere.

Jane, seeing the same data, is more pessimistic:

While progressives have had some successes around the edges, it’s largely been Sherman’s March to the Sea for the corporate agenda during the Clinton-Bush-Obama years. Nothing progressives have achieved can compare to NAFTA, the lucrative wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and the bank/insurance industry/PhRMA bailouts. Now Congress is preparing to dismantle the New Deal, selectively defaulting on Treasury bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund — targeting American senior citizens in this sudden compulsion to reduce the deficit.

This from the woman who’s largely responsible for getting Halter into the race in the first place — and helping him get funded well enough to make it a toe-to-toe event.

It’s a bit of a Rorschach primary, isn’t it?

So I’ll add my two cents. Yes, thanks to ReaganClintonBushObama (let’s call them RCBO & Associates), the real rulers of Mr. Roberts Neighborhood are starting to think they can see the finish line. I suspect there’s locker-room talk of sprinting the rest of the way.

It’s true that, as the Gipper famously said to Pat O’Brien on Stage 12 of Warner Brothers Burbank Studios, this is certainly a time:

when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys …

which to me says simply the following:

1. It’s time for us to get serious about primaries. Lots of them. Joe is right. It’s frankly our only hope. If we fail now, the Big Boys will go to Disneyland for their post-game celebration (on our dime, I might add). Don’t hand one cent to third parties, and not one minute to them either. Both are precious.

I’ll give it to you straight, right from my inner Trotsky:

You don’t replace the party in power; you take over the party in power.

Tape it to your wall.

It wasn’t Lenin who toppled the Czar, it was the Mensheviks. Once Kerenski and his group had set up the revolutionary government, Lenin grabbed control. The Texas Chainsaw Conservatives didn’t topple the Republican Party, they took it over, one county office at a time. The Baptist Church fell to the pseudo-godly in the same godless way. (I hear other churches are fending off similar assaults from the cadres; God help them.)

Primaries, lots of them, until the Democratic party is ours. We’ll need an entire party if we expect to go toe-to-toe ourselves. Yes, Obi-wan, it really is our only hope.

2. Be clear-eyed to the point of madness. I agree, this can make you crazy, but face the fact that, as Paul Krugman said in his must-read introduction to The Great Unraveling — Movement Conservatism is “a revolutionary power… a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system.” This is not your daddy’s conservative movement. Reagan was a revolutionary; he took power by revolutionary means; as did Bush Jr.; as did John Roberts by lying through his teeth at his confirmation hearing.

We’re fighting a revolutionary force. It’s a world-historical moment. We can’t afford to be confused.

3. The Big Boys are getting lazy (you know who I mean — anyone resembling BP and their retainers). They think they’re in the fourth quarter, and it’s only the third. They think they own the refs. They’re getting careless — tone-deaf and arrogant.

Time to slip them the shiv, and by that I mean, Occam‘s switchblade. Now’s the time to throw big lights on who they are and brand them — like calves. (Branding does work both ways, you know — you always brand yourself by your behavior.)

So let them appear to be what they really are — they’re eager to dance their little end-zone waggle — and let us be relentless about putting that dance on the world’s bright billboard. No one should be confused. There’s just too much at stake.

That’s it for now — a three-point action list for the next few years. I’ve given this a lot of thought; if we’re going to get out of this mess, these three points are the route. And if we don’t get out of this mess, forget going to Europe — the disease is being aggressively exported. It could get there ahead of you.

I’ll have more to say about Krugman’s “revolutionary power” in future — much more. BP is doing a very good job of being who they actually are, and I’ll be shining my own little mini-Maglite® Solitaire on it. This tragedy is instructive; I personally plan on doing my own small part.

Last words — Stay optimistic, and stay unconfused. These really are important times. If this were a science-fiction story, we’re in Terminator 1.

Terminally yours,


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

Share This Post

© 2021 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS