Where Does Blanche Lincoln Go From Here?

Via Balloon Juice, Josh Green writes:

The assumption until a few minutes ago was that Lincoln would lose and her [derivatives] provision would quietly get stripped in the conference committee that's about to take place. Now that she's won--and won narrowly, and faces a very tough race in the fall--the calculus becomes a lot tougher. [. . .] The bank lobby and the Obama administration (both oppose the Lincoln provision) may simply prove too strong and do the deed anyway. But their task got a whole lot harder. The markup conference will now get a lot more attention. That could be tough for Lincoln. But it will be especially tough for Democrats who wanted to kill her provision without suffering any political damage.

What's fascinating about Green's writeup is the failure to examine why the Obama Administration and Democrats would want to kill Lincoln's derivatives proposal. Green assumes you know -- that pols are pols and do what they do and the banks have stuffed a lot of money in the pockets of the Obama Administration and Dems. This leads to the question I ask in my title - where does Lincoln go from here? Let's discuss that on the flip.

Lincoln has a split Arkansas Dem Party, no labor support, horrible poll numbers and frankly, no viable political strategy for November. She captured a nomination that for her is worthless. She can not win in November. I can not even see a vote maximizing strategy for her.

But pols are always the last to know they are toast. So Lincoln thinks she can still win. So if she thinks that, what will she do? Try to mend fences with Labor? Move way to the right? Run against Obama? Oppose him on everythung?

Where does Lincoln go from here?

Speaking for me only

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    I'm puzzled (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:48:37 AM EST
    If the WH doesn't want her derivative proposal why did they fight so hard for her?  If she would have died on the vine then it would have too most likely right?  Secondly, what part did her derivative proposal play in keeping her alive in the Dem primary? Blanche should fight like hell for her proposal and remake her betraying ole self. Maybe she could become the Prodigal Democrat Daughter of the Delta.  If she broke with the WH on their need to keep screwing the little people, wouldn't that help her?

    They only let her have it so (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:36:25 AM EST
    she could point to it as proof that she isn't a complete sell-out to the voters. She has always voted for our financial overlords and she needed something to make her look more progressive against Halter. They delayed a vote on it for her first primary. Now that's she's won the second, they have to find a way to kill it without making it look like such an obvious farce.

    As to the other, a Blue Dog doesn't change it's color. I doubt she has had an epiphany and without the WH, she knows re-election is even a longer shot than it is now.


    What you say is true, but that's only (none / 0) (#12)
    by dk on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:38:59 AM EST
    part of the picture.  The reason it was there at all was was so that the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership could point to it as proof that THEY aren't complete sell-outs.  Obviously, though, there was no intention of allowing it to pass.

    Since the WH kinda backed off (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 12:03:20 PM EST
    it seems to me they thought she was going to lose.  Wouldn't have looked good for yet ANOTHER loss. What would that make it in less than a year?  5?  6?

    You're right. They certainly don't want (none / 0) (#27)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:10:10 PM EST
    actual reform, only the appearance of reform as  cover for all of them. Though, at some point, I wonder if their numerous non-reforming reforms will bite them in the butt, rather than us. Probably not but a girl can dream, can't she?

    What It Will All be About Is (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:15:57 PM EST
    What Blanche's next gig will be.  She will burn bridges with the camp least likely to give her the post-MOC gig she thinks she's entitled to.

    Does she want to be paid six figures to take her former colleagues out to lunch?  Or does she want a sinecure in a think tank somewhere?  Or maybe some well-paying do-nothing jobs sitting on the boards of Fortune 100 companies.

    What she wants and who can give it to her will say basically everything about what Blanche's course will be over the next six months.

    What we can probably say, though, is that she won't be coming on as a fellow at one of the AFL-CIO's labor institutes for training.  So I don't expect she'll be doing much to help unionized workers in Arkansas or anywhere else.

    Maybe Archer Daniels Midland is looking for a lobbyist or board member.

    Cling to Bill Clinton? (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:48:41 AM EST
    Honestly, I'm not sure either, but I do think it will involve running away from Obama. Also: where's she going to get cash from?

    cash? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:24:08 AM EST
    from the corporations she has been shilling for.

    They will be moving their money (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:50:11 PM EST
    to Boozman-why back lite when you can back the full monty?

    The "full monty," I like that (none / 0) (#34)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:49:26 PM EST
    Like Tip O'Neill or Truman or both said, give voters a choice between Dem who acts/votes like a Republican and the real thing (aka the full monty) & they will vote for the real thing every time.

    The unions wouldn't be much help to her (none / 0) (#3)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:57:09 AM EST
    in Arkansas anyway. I read last night that the state is around 49th in the level of union presence (which is one of the reasons she was never a big union supporter, they aren't actually a big part of her constituency). Lincoln is likely just hoping Boozman implodes somewhere along the way (it could happen).

    Money works in every state (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:05:58 AM EST
    Money? Legs? Lincoln had nothing to lose. (none / 0) (#13)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:47:43 AM EST
    Organized labor's most significant contribution is normally organized shoe leather - not money.

    But in Arkansas they don't have shoe leather.

    And when's the last time labor put big money into an Arkansas Senate race?

    Nationally, labor made $10M go away. In-state, they're a nonfactor.

    What are they gonna do now, go all-out for Boozman?


    they are not a non factor (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:53:26 AM EST
    they helped her get elected twice.  not so much the last time but they can help plenty even if there are not that many union members in the state.

    it Halter had won it would have been labor that gave it to him.  and he almost won.


    They helped her get elected? (none / 0) (#22)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:34:34 PM EST
    Or, "they helped her, and she got elected"?

    Total $$, career (2 1/2 House races and 2 1/2 Senate races), under $600K.

    Closest winning margin was 5 or 6% - not exactly a squeaker.

    She always had some labor endorsements, and some labor $$, but she never had a "friend of labor" history.

    Most Arkansas working people don't identify with organized labor anyway.

    So what did she have to lose?


    you are just wrong (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:42:08 PM EST
    about most arkansas voters.  I know many of those voters and they do identify with unions and their goals.  not every arkansan is for the state being a right to work state.  they are not all stupid.
    there is just enough to keep it that way at least for now.
    but she lost a lot of sympathy by running against the unions this time.  not enough to lose the primary but plenty to help her lose in the fall.

    Don't understand your comment (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 12:05:46 PM EST
    Unless you think 10 million is worthless in politics, then I do not see your point.

    Don't understand yours (none / 0) (#19)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:13:47 PM EST
    Labor was never going to spend $10M to help Lincoln, regardless of her votes or views.

    Labor was never going to spend $10M on Halter v Boozman, if Halter won the runoff.

    Labor spent $10M to send a message, and the resulting message was "We just blew $10M". (Roughly, the full cost of one contested Senate campaign in a median-sized state ... or attention-getting deltas in 100 House races.)

    The rule of power is that if you make a power play and succeed, you gain power. If you make a power play and fail, you lose power (as well as whatever material resource you spent).

    So labor hurt labor on the national political stage, and lost scarce dollars that could have turned up several labor allies in the next Congress.


    Um (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:50:49 PM EST
    That's 20/20 hindsight.

    I doubt any Dem wants to face 10MM from ANYONE in a primary.

    Your point still eludes me.


    Missed the point? Why am I not surprised? (none / 0) (#28)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:35:46 PM EST
    Let me reconstruct it for you.

    Your post proceeded as if labor support was (or would have been) a significant factor in any winning strategy for Lincoln. ("... what will she do? Try to mend fences with Labor?")

    tigercourse noted that "The unions wouldn't be much help to her"

    You chipped in "Money works in every state".

    Does this have anything to do with the thread of discussion? Only if money works to help Lincoln in Arkansas, such that she might be well advised to mend fences with Labor.

    Of course there's no prospect that Labor would spend big money on her behalf - no matter her past, present of future posture on labor issues - and little prospect that big Labor money would change the outcome in any event.

    This renders your "Money works" remark pointless.

    That's the point.

    Of course there's a larger point, having to do with how one comprehends strategy in terms of discretionary actions and their effects ... but it'll keep.


    So your point is (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:10:59 PM EST
    money does not work in general elections?

    Um, ok.


    Poor, obtuse Armando (none / 0) (#37)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:24:34 PM EST
    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:24:29 PM EST
    I just think it is obvious that having the unions support you in the GE is better for a Dem than not having them support you. Seems a simple point to me.

    If that support is just in dollars, as opposed to a a lot of canvassing, well that's still better.

    Bottom line is Lincoln is toast, of course not solely because she won't have union support, but in part.

    I think most any Dem would be toast in Arkansas this year.


    Poor, incoherent Armando (none / 0) (#43)
    by RonK Seattle on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:49:46 PM EST
    A variation of the power play lesson (none / 0) (#29)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:49:37 PM EST
    has often been stated by -- drum roll--former President Clinton. In talking straight politics, he has been heard to say "If you are going to kill the king, kill the king." Aka Don't aim and fail; because then you really are in trouble. I believe that, at some point in the general, labor will find a way to be supportive and Sen. Lincoln will find a way to let them be; it is in both their interests; and, labor in Arkansas needs to be seen as smoothly pivoting to recover from what is now seen as a misstep (or else be totally shut out there.)

    They and Halter (none / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:54:12 PM EST
    put a pretty good scare into her, though, no?  And otherwise, there would be no derivatives legislation on the table at all.

    She only squeaked by, and that's a lesson it's my impression pols take to heart to at least some extent.


    Nevermind Arkansas, think about Iowa (none / 0) (#17)
    by goldberry on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 12:27:40 PM EST
    People don't give a flying fig about gay marriage this year.  
    Think about it.  We are descending Maslow's pyramid.  The unions made an important point in Arkansas.  And anyone who flicks a finger at working people this year is going to find themselves in hot water.  
    When it comes down to putting food on the table on a regular basis and having a stable job, free from fear of losing whatever loose tether you have on the middle class, voters are going to stop caring who's doing what in the bedroom.  The social conservatives and the laissez faire genes that hitch a ride with them are vulnerable.  
    Too bad we can't capitalize on that this year but that's what's happening.

    Great commercial! (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:08:33 PM EST
    The Republican had been in Hawaii for only three years and he had the b*lls to run?

    Well then, we can move there and do okay--we know we are Mainlanders and wouldn't be brash like that...


    Wow, fabulous! (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:57:06 PM EST
    A wee bit below the belt from my perspective since I'm not universally opposed to carpetbaggers, but man, what a great commercial!  Congratulations!

    Might also depend (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:59:56 AM EST
    On the mood of the electorate in general.  If the "anti-incumbent" mood is still high, she's toast - if things seem to be improving, they won't change horses mid-stream.

    The future mood (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:01:56 PM EST
    Moods change. Should some Republican types from Nevada, South Carolina, & Kentucky happen to talk too far outside the mainstream, and it plays over and over by the media, the situation may morph to favor someone seen as strong, her-own-person and a "safe" bet (as compared to those national portraits of off-the-deep-end Republicans.) Stranger things have happened; and, here, its beginning to look like a definite possibility.

    Also: Senator Lincoln has been given a gift not just in winning her primary, but in how she won. She now can claim she won "despite all those outside/in Washington" predicting loss "while taking the people of Arkansas for granted." She can portray herself as a populist Democrat--longtime popular in Arkansas--who "stands up to Washington" "votes/acts independently" etc. Because of the derivatives legislation that she is sponsoring, she can point to "leading the way against Wall Street with tough, fair rules that will not allow banks to gamble with your money." We'll see. But after last night, I would not count her out on any bet.
    Oh: That favorite son of Arkansas should be a definite help in getting out the votes.


    Lincoln is gone (none / 0) (#20)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:14:24 PM EST
    Arkansas is a red state now....

    Favorite Son Bill Clinton is the only holdover....

    The Unions made their point: turn your back on us and we will make sure you are not re-elected....

    Lincoln will not recover from her tough primary fight....  


    you make it sound (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:22:59 PM EST
    like a bad thing

    That Arkansas, yes, (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 01:38:15 PM EST
    has become a Red State, that is too bad--and over social issues nonsense.....

    As to Lincoln, no, I think it is a good thing she was primaried.  I said so yesterday on this blog before the votes came in.  My reasoning:  the Democrat is going to lose anyway, so there is no downside of losing a seat to the Republicans that would militate against a primary challenge; and since we have a free-play so to speak, might as well send a message....That message became a little diluted by Lincoln's win.....I guess turn out machines really do matter.


    they were (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:23:34 AM EST
    plenty of help to her in the past.  and in those days she had no problem at all with them.

    She's done well in (none / 0) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:49:19 PM EST
    painting herself as a pseudo-populist Arkansan.  She managed to paint Halter as somehow not a real Arkansan, though he is, and as a Washington insider, though she is.

    I still think she'll lose, but she's shown she can put up more fight than I gave her credit for, and it may not be a big blow-out.


    yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:22:40 AM EST
    Try to mend fences with Labor? Move way to the right? Run against Obama? Oppose him on everythung?

    as far as where does she go (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:24:44 AM EST
    into lobbying I expect.

    Yep. Plenty of $$$ in her future. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Joan in VA on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:38:33 AM EST
    If the WH likes her so much (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 12:42:39 PM EST
    Maybe she'll be treasury secretary after Geithner makes the inevitable career-limiting move.

    Hopefully she just goes away (none / 0) (#33)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:45:43 PM EST
    we're better off with the Ark. Repub than her.  No need for fellow Dems to try to please Boozman a(though Obama will undoubtedly try).  Sanders, Franken, Feingold and others will have less need to cater to Blue Dogs like Lincoln after November.  

    Unfortunately Obama will put her in the Cabinet to join the other corporate shills & hawks he has surronded himself with.  And the White House will be sincerely surpised & outraged when the f'ing retards line up and fund the first progressive primary challenger to mount a 2012 pointless exercise.

    On second thought, it's a progressive triumph! (none / 0) (#38)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:41:34 PM EST
    Maybe the greatest progressive triumph since Ginny Schrader.