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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sen. Blanche Lincoln no longer matters

blancheOBby K. Ryan James: The first notice came on Drudge just after 8 p.m. Eastern time, but we all knew a long time ago that this was going to happen.

The New York Times is reporting that Democrats in the House and Senate have drawn their line in the sand, tossed any semblance of bipartisanship (not that Republicans were even part of the conversation) and threw their Blue Dog colleagues under the Obamacare bus as they will “go it alone” to ram a health care bill through, even though it is opposed by a majority of the country.
Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.

Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

The White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said of Republican lawmakers, “Only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out.”

The Democratic shift may not make producing a final bill much easier. The party must still reconcile the views of moderate and conservative Democrats worried about the cost and scope of the legislation with those of more progressive lawmakers determined to win a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers.

On the other hand, such a change could alter the dynamic of talks surrounding health care legislation, and even change the substance of a final bill. With no need to negotiate with Republicans, Democrats might be better able to move more quickly, relying on their large majorities in both houses. Democratic senators might feel more empowered, for example, to define the authority of the nonprofit insurance cooperatives that are emerging as an alternative to a public insurance plan.
For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this means that the Blue Dog Democrats which guarantee her speakership are to be spayed and neutered as Mrs. Pelosi will follow the lead of the liberal members of her caucus and call a vote.

For Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, this likey means that he will invoke the arcane rule known as reconciliation in which the Senate Democrats will drop the health care plan into a budget bill (which can’t be filibustered), thus only requiring 51 votes and not the 60 to invoke cloture. Ezra Klein has a good primer at The American Prospect:
Imagine you want to run health reform through the reconciliation process. Here's how it works: Congress includes reconciliation instructions in the budget. Those instructions direct certain committees - say, the Finance Committee and the Health, Energy, Labor, and Pensions Committee - to produce health-reform legislation hitting certain spending targets by a certain deadline. Once finished, the legislation is tossed back to the Budget Committee, which staples it together into an omnibus bill and sends it to the floor of the Senate for 20 hours of debate followed by an up-or-down vote.
What this means for Arkansans is that Sen. Blanche Lincoln's newly-announced town hall meetings in September don't mean a hill of beans (or some other useful phrase), since her vote isn't needed to get to 51.

You may have read in [Blanche Lincoln’s ‘town hall-style’ meetings] that Mrs. Lincoln had finally heard the rumblings of the constituency - a portion of whom she once called "un-American” – and scheduled meetings in Jonesboro, Pine Bluff and Russellville (which is in the 3rd District, but not really the heart of Republican-leaning Northwest Arkansas). Apparently, just like the recent SNAFU between Organizing for America and her campaign, it appears that President Obama has once again screwed up her message calendar.

Sen. Lincoln can no longer present the facade that she somehow matters in the fight over health care. The perception that she, who never failed to let us know she sat on the Senate Finance Committee, could actually affect something is no longer valid. The narrative that what was said to her at her April town halls, and what will be said to her in a couple of weeks, will be given a voice in the Senate has proven to be fiction. To sum up, the Empress has no clothes and it is her own fault.

By trying to play politics and threading the needle between the beltway and her constituency - instead of actually standing for them – Sen. Lincoln has allowed today's decision to plow this massive bill through to occur. Her presence as the 60th vote in the Democrat Caucus allows Sen. Reid to set the agenda - which is ultimately determined down the road at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She voted for Mr. Reid to lead the Senate, and that vote ensured that today's decision was able to be made.

Sen. Lincoln's presence in her caucus enabled this reckless action by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi. Because she votes with and is part of the majority, she gives her tacit approval to the liberal leaders of her party to curtail genuine debate and shut out any opportunity for the voice of conservative Americans (regardless of party) to be heard - which is the plan announced in today's New York Times.

When it comes to health care reform, Arkansans no longer have a voice because the Democratic Party doesn't need our assent or input to make sure President Obama gets his political win. Its about time that we change this fact. Since Mrs. Lincoln is no longer a voice in the Senate, I believe it is time she be replaced. Thankfully, we have that opportunity in November 2010.

Tags: Blanche Lincoln, health care, How Modern Liberals Think, Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:00 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blanche Lincoln is condescending and insulting to those she "represents," voting against Arkansas on a consistent basis until election time rolls around. I hope we don't have to hear her name, ever again, after 2010.

What happened to honest politicians with backbones, real men and women we could trust to look out for our interests, values and beliefs? Arkansans are awakening and realizing just how "well" we have been represented over the years: whatever Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want, our elected officials want. It's time for a whole new group of representatives in Arkansas. No excuses accepted for the horrible votes these folks have made - out with them all!

Anonymous Jeannine Z Lee said...

So GLAD this president said he was a uniter, reaching across the aisle to heal the rifts.... oh, yeah, and he also said he wants single payer health care, but that was before he said he does NOT want single payer health care....

Anonymous Christine Keller said...

I am one of a number of Arkansas citizens who have contacted Senator Lincoln’s office numerous times in recent weeks urging her to hold a town hall meeting regarding health care. After numerous telephone calls and e-mails to Senator Lincoln’s office, freedom-loving citizens have had to resort to following the senator around to try to get her attention directly. These are hard-working, taxpaying, freedom-loving citizens who have legitimate concerns and yet she dares to call them “un-American” and treat them with such disrespect. I was there on Saturday afternoon in Bella Vista and witnessed first-hand the disrespect Senator Lincoln has for her constituents. After hearing that some citizens would be there outside with signs, she moved her meeting to a park in Bella Vista and set up police barricades inside the park so that citizens could not get near her to voice their concerns! The crowd that gathered outside the police barricades was unarmed, peaceful, patriotic people. I saw little old ladies; I saw a WWII veteran with his walker and oxygen machine; I saw housewives with children and babies—in short, a real cross-section of Arkansas, and certainly not a “mob” or “astroturf”! No one paid me to be there! The cowardly senator sneaked in the back way across a golf course. When the meeting was over, we watched the people leaving. There was much more of us than of them. They had to drive by both sides of the road lined with us. Many gave us “thumbs-up.” Many looked hard and angry. One man came out and dared to use abusive and inappropriate language right in front of the children who were present. It was clear that the hate was on their side, not ours. Senator Lincoln managed to sneak out again, going deliberately out of her way to avoid speaking to anyone. Her answer in the paper yesterday was something about how she typically does not do town hall meetings in August since people are busy. That is such a cop-out and everyone knows it. The entire country is in an uproar over the latest Democrat overreach of power, and her excuse for not having a town hall is that no one would attend? She knows that’s not true—she simply will not face the issue. This is one of many reasons her approval ratings continue to fall. It is time people realize that Senator Lincoln does not represent Arkansas. Anyone who wishes to speak to the senator’s office staff in person may do so ONLY by RSVP’ing at Does she really want to hear from her constituents or only from the ones who agree with her?

Blogger bruce said...

my congress critters never pay any attention to our e-mails,letters or phone calls.i think they need o find work in the dreaded private sector if there is any left after these bums get through with us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blanche Lincoln's affair with Big Insurance is no secret.

I have no good words to say about Blanche Lincoln. My several attempts to contact her regarding a health insurance issue (back when I was still naiive) were ignored -- not even a lowly generic letter of acknowledgment from her office staff.

In my opinion, Arkansans can't show her the door fast enough.


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