In today’s primaries, the Democratic Party must begin to decide if it wants to be ruled by grown-ups or by self-absorbed Lefties so out-of-touch with mainstream America that you wonder if they ever talk to someone standing next to them at the check-out counter or the gas station. A blistering, front page Politico.com article announces "Left to Obama: We’re Not Happy!" I hope the President issues a reply: "Obama to Left: You’re Ridiculous!"

Many people placed many hopes on candidate Obama during the 2008 election. Moderate centrists saw him as the champion of a new style of post-partisan politics and Obama fed that narrative. It has not come to pass although I think the historical verdict is out on whether the lack of bipartisanship in Washington the past year has more to do with Obama or with the GOP members of Congress. The Left saw Obama as a true-believing champion, as opposed to the more established and moderate Clintons, and rallied to his flag, although that caricatures of the Clintons as only power-hungry and of Obama as ideologically pure were both untrue. Now, alas, it is Obama who must pay the price of that unfairness which propelled him to the nomination.

Today, in Arkansas, two capable Democrats are battling for the nomination to run for the Senate. The incumbent, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, is a true moderate, but she waffled on health care and opposed making it easier for unions to organize through a card check system. This earned her the enmity of the Left, who found Lt. Gov. Bill Halter to challenge her for the Democratic nomination. Now, health care reform has been a singular objective of the Democratic Party for so long, that any waffling may be grounds for dismissal. And, card check would help workers register their true opinions without fear of intimidation by their employers, which intimidation still frustrates the desires of hundreds of thousands of workers nationwide who want nothing more that to achieve what the Church teaches is their right to organize. Still, I hesitate to throw Sen. Lincoln overboard, in part because she is the kind of moderate Democrat who can win in Arkansas, in part because she has served here state’s interests and met the needs of her constituents admirably, and in part because the anti-incumbent fever is a shallow and often misplaced anger.

Most of all I worry that a Washington that has no room for Sen. Lincoln will also be a Washington that has no room for Sen. Olympia Snowe. I worry that the partisan divides, enforced on the Left by MoveOn.org and on the Right by the Tea Party, will become so entrenched that compromise will become not only a dirty word, which it is already to the enforcers of partisan orthodoxy, but a thing that is extinct, the political equivalent of a dinosaur. A politics with no room for compromise is a politics that can achieve nothing, which may suit the conservative agenda but it should repel liberals. It is ironic, and in some sense a measure of the poor quality of education in civics we give our children, that the MoveOn.org crowd is unaware of the way paralysis tilts against them.

So, as much as I find Halter an appealing candidate, and think he is likely to win tonight, I am pulling for Sen. Lincoln. Washington needs centrists from both parties to put the breaks on partisanship now and then. Besides, as Mayor Ed Koch used to say, "If you agree with me eighty percent of the time, vote for me. If you agree with me one hundred percent of the time, go see your shrink."

 

Comments

William Lindsey | 6/11/2010 - 7:56am
Thanks for your question, Jeff.
 
I think you've misunderstood me fairly thoroughly.  I'm sorry not to have made myself clear.
 
I can't see anyplace that I've claimed the gospels mandate that I cast a vote for Mr. Halter, or anyone else, for that matter.  I wouldn't make such a claim.
 
What the gospels do, I would maintain, is frame our thinking about political matters, in which we always have to make prudential judgments that are not and cannot be perfect judgments.  Ideology, on the other hand, deprives us of the freedom to make such prudential judgments, because it predetermines our conclusions from the outset.
 
I'm maintaining that, as we examine social, economic, and political life, our first principle has to be, always, what effect our decisions will have on the least among us.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.
Anonymous | 6/10/2010 - 10:16am
Mr. Lindsey, I don't think 2,000 limit responses will clarify the thorny and interesting philosophical & theological "first principles' issue you raised in a response to my comment.  But I do have to ask a question, based on your last comment.  In your last response to me, you say:
 "Our first and foremost obligation is not to shore up any particular business structure, and certainly not to endorse a particular partisan ideological perspective."
 
And while I AGREE that the Gospel does not and should not be translated into a programmatic or political agenda, you seem to read the Gospel as requiring a vote for Bill Halter and liberal Democrats, so exactly how are you NOT doing what you castigate me for doing?  I mean if the Gospel call to charity & justice shouldn't "shore up" any particular ideology, then how do you justify saying the Gospel requires a vote for Bill Halter, which you do seem to arguing.
William Lindsey | 6/10/2010 - 8:07am
Sorry, again, the link-embedding feature didn't work for me.  Here's the link to the Adele Stan article my previous posting cites:
 
http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/06/09/why-halters-loss-is-not-a-defeat-for-progressives/
William Lindsey | 6/10/2010 - 7:49am
Stanley, I share your dismay.  I voted for Halter and would have preferred to see him win, of course.
 
Still, I think of this contest the way Adele Stan does in a posting at Alternet today: she points out that the challenge puts ''centrist'' Democratic incumbents on notice that they'll be challenged by the progressive wing of the Democratic party, if they sell out core Democratic principles.  By us tired old lefties with little power, or us juvenile ones who don't buy gas - I can't keep up with the latest taxonomy of centrist slurs of progressives anymore, so I don't know if the problem is that I'm old and tired or young and callow.
 
Plus, the challenge has forced Lincoln already to tack back to the real center of Democratic principles, with her new-found support for economic reform principles.
 
I look at it this way, though the mainstream media and its centrist powerbrokers want to spin the results as a decisive defeat for progressives: in a relatively conservative small Southern state's Democratic primary, 48 per cent of Democratic voters chose the progressive candidate over the powerful centrist incumbent.  That's nearly half of all Democrats in the state.
 
And those data make it incomprensible to me that this centrist Democratic administration now wants to poke a stick into the eye of progressives yet again, with taunts about big labor flushing millions down the toilet in a useless challenge to an incumbent.  Or that power-brokering journalists allied with the administration in this spin campaign keep characterizing progressives as juvenile lefties.
 
Keep up with the taunts, the slap-downs, and the attempt to render progressive voices meaningless, and you may well end up getting a reaction on your hands.
Stanley Kopacz | 6/9/2010 - 9:15pm
Well, Lincoln won.  Big bucks won the day.  Hooray.  Who would ever have guessed?
I would really like to ask the money boys how much it would take to buy our country and politicians back.  Can we get a deal on ebay?  Senator, slightly used but reliable.  Responsive to steering.
As for fishing, hope the fishing trainee has good luck catching those tarbabies in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 7:19pm
Jeff, you say, "'Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime' should be our motto."
 
Again, I must respectfully disagree about the first principles that should guide our thinking here.
 
In my view, this discussion has to begin with and be framed by the call of Jesus to us, "Whatsoever you do to the least among us, that you do to me."  Our first and foremost obligation is not to shore up any particular business structure, and certainly not to endorse a particular partisan ideological perspective.
 
It's to care for those who are most in need, and to build a social and economic order normed by that goal.
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 2:42pm
"From the standpoint of Catholic social teaching and its stress on both solidarity and the preferential option for the poor (two stresses very imperfectly represented in both Republican and Democratic politics in the U.S., because both are versions of liberalism), I think our focus first and foremost has to be on the victims of our current socioeconomic system."
 
This topic has been bandied about for sometime already on here, going back to the health care debate.  Suffice it to say that I do not disagree with the stated goal, but rather with the means.  "Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime" should be our motto.  A functioning economy creating jobs is the best path out of poverty.
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 2:39pm
"With the percentage of employees represented by unions having steadily declined for 50 years, how can "union bosses" have "saddled most of America's businesses" with anything"
 
This is precisely the tragedy.  Unions have negotiated immensely expensive benefit plans (lots of them pensions) all the while their membership rolls have shrunk, thus making them bark louder about the need for "employee free choice", which really means an end to the secret ballot & they can pressure people to join (only in their tortured world does a secret ballot equate to business pressure not to unionize).  The costs of these cushy benefits plans was well-documented during the auto bailouts.  What we're going to see next is the cushy benefits the public sector employees unions have wrangled out of the taxpayers begin to crush local, state and national budgets.  The costs of these big cushy benefit plans gets passed on to you and me as consumers and taxpayers.  This is why I get so incensed when a Catholic tropes out the tired trollops of Big Labor, as if this were still the 1920s.
 
As far as your comment about pensions vs. 401Ks, pensions are shrinking because they are economically unviable.  And yes, 401Ks are "riskier", but what investment in life isn't?
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 2:35pm
Correction: "haven't been sufficient" should read (above) "hasn't been sufficient."
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 2:34pm
Jeff, actually I don't consider myself a liberal politically.  I would call myself a progressive.
 
I agree with your point that both the Republicans and the Democrats have bought into corporatist mentality that hasn't helped us resolve our economic crisis.  That's why I stated in my first response to you that, though the problem began with Reagan (in my view), what centrist Democratic administrations from Clinton to Obama have done to address the problem haven't been sufficient.
 
I don't agree, however, with your conclusion that "[t]his [i.e., strengthennig small business] should be the focus of the economic recovery."
 
From the standpoint of Catholic social teaching and its stress on both solidarity and the preferential option for the poor (two stresses very imperfectly represented in both Republican and Democratic politics in the U.S., because both are versions of liberalism), I think our focus first and foremost has to be on the victims of our current socioeconomic system.
 
They continue to proliferate, and putting ideological considerations of either party ahead of them as human beings - and their needs as persons - seems immoral to me, as a Catholic. 
William Kurtz | 6/9/2010 - 12:51pm
I'm enjoying this dialogue. A question and a comment for Jeff Landry.
With the percentage of employees represented by unions having steadily declined for 50 years, how can "union bosses" have "saddled most of America's businesses" with anything?
As for 401 K plans, they are a riskier substitute for pensions, which fewer and fewer workers get.
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 11:57am
"Reaganomics"
 
Liberals use this term as a bogey-man for everything.  In my own understanding, I don't think that the corporatist-based policies of the Clinton/Bush/Obama administrations automatically equates with policies that foster less economic regulation and great de-centralization.  If you ignored the gauzy "Hopey-Changey" blather of the last presidential campaign & actually looked at some of Sen. McCain's economic proposals, you would see a "Reaganomics" focused on strengthening America's entrepreneurial/small business sector, which has been the real strength of America's economy.  This should be the focus of the economic recovery.  
 
Unfortunately, the liberal response to the economic crisis is the same old policies of increasing the size and cost of centralized government.  One day, liberals might wake up and see that this Big Government actually fosters Big Business because it raises the costs of doing business in this country so high that it forces out small business.  This is PRECISELY why you see so many Wall Street types giving so much money to DEMOCRATS.
 
 
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 11:37am
Teo points in response to your last question, Jeff:
 
1. I used the phrase "Republican free-marketers" because you used it.  In my view, though Reganomics brought us this magical-mystical phrase, the Democratic party has been complicit in fostering (or not addressing) the problems it brought us.  The victory of Ms. Lincoln underscorse how the Democratic establishment, the beltway "centrists," are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
 
2. The seemingly intractable problems with which the current administration is dealing predate this administration, and they won't be solved quickly, precisely because their roots are deep.  The downturn began, let's not forget, under the "Republican free-market" president who held office before this one.  And I would argue, as an immuature leftie Democrat who doesn't buy gas often enough, that the way in which our current "centrist" Democratic administration has addressed these problems doesn't go nearly far enough towards a real solution to them.
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 11:27am
"We just have to look around us to see the many unemployed walking wounded that the Republican free-marketers have given us as their great gift to our society."
 
Excuse me, but we have a Democrat-controlled House, Senate & White House & unemployment has either increased or remained steady.  How are Republicans to blame for this?
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 11:25am
"Virtually every objective statistic shows that working class (and even middle class) people have lost ground over the last 40 years. They have a smaller share of the national income, their jobs are less secure.Even a conservative observer, Victor Davis Hanson, marveled a few years ago about how quiescent America's working class has been in the face of its undeniably declining fortunes. Hanson concluded that perhaps their ability to acquire more "stuff" like electronic gear, kept them pacified."
 
"All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty-Dumpty back together again."
 
The shifts in the economy from primarily blue-collar, manufacturing based to a knowledge-based jobs accounts for this, not the greed, pilfering and supposed rape of the pure middle class worker by Big Business.  And while it is true that incomes have declined for some workers, they have also seen their 401K plans and other pension plans soar, not to mention the cushy Cadillac plans their union bosses have saddled most of America's businesses with.
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 11:11am
I had tried to embed the link to Max Brantley's article in Arkansas Times in what I just posted.  I see it didn't work.  The link is as follows:
 
http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2010/06/09/what-others-are-saying
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 11:09am
Sorry to disagree with you, Mr. Landry.  But it's you who're rewriting the script here and not me, I maintain.
 
I agree with the editor of the journal Arkansas Times, who wrote this morning on his blog the following statement:
 
"Sen. Blanche Lincoln's victory spurs much analysis, dominated by horse laughs at organized labor for the failure of its mobilization and expenditures. (Has it occurred to no one that corporate interests spent a comparable amount to produce this?)"
 
In my view, the magical-mystical view that the trickle-down economic theory of "Republican free-marketers" has translated into a better life for most workers is just that: magical-mystical.  It's belied by the facts.
 
We just have to look around us to see the many unemployed walking wounded that the Republican free-marketers have given us as their great gift to our society.
William Kurtz | 6/9/2010 - 10:43am
"Market-driven reforms (mostly led by Republican free-marketers) have improved the lot of workers."
Are you serious? How?
Virtually every objective statistic shows that working class (and even middle class) people have lost ground over the last 40 years. They have a smaller share of the national income, their jobs are less secure.
Even a conservative observer, Victor Davis Hanson, marveled a few years ago about how quiescent America's working class has been in the face of its undeniably declining fortunes. Hanson concluded that perhaps their ability to acquire more "stuff" like electronic gear, kept them pacified.
Anonymous | 6/9/2010 - 9:58am
"If Mr. Halter received huge infusions of funding from labor, the amount of money given to Ms. Lincoln by corporations and big economic interest groups outside Arkansas was also astonishing.  And the focus on labor's clout in our little state is ludicrously misplaced. Unions are practically non-existent here.  They have no power at all here.  We are a right-to-work state with almost no legal protection at all for workers."
 
This is re-writing the script pure and simple.  Up to the moment Halter lost, this race was trumpeted as a huge win for Big Labor.  Labor Unions have lost their grip and the power as market-driven reforms (mostly led by Republican free-marketers) have improved the lot of workers & the nature of the economy has shifted away from blue collar jobs.
 
And the Catholic "mysticism" about Big Labor reminds me of the Catholic "love" for the Kennedys - a misplaced and unfortunate vestige of history whose time has come for re-examination.  Liberal Catholicism's fetishness over Big Labor is one of many reasons most economists dismiss what the Church has to say about economics.  And after the Auto "Bailouts", which were precipitated by the Unions' "Cadillac" benefits plans, most Americans are likely to come to the same conclusion.
William Lindsey | 6/9/2010 - 8:34am
Tom, you say, "Blanche Lincoln winning the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate is significant. Big Labor vigorously oppossed her re-nomination primarily by giving her opponent, Bill Halter, union endorsement and tons of money to oppose her."
 
Perhaps.  But there were tons of money spent on both sides, so the attempt of the incumbent (and her extremely powerful supporters in the Democratic party and outside it) to portray her win as a "home-grown" victory is ludicrous.
 
Millions of dollars were poured into this race on both sides, from outside the state.  If Mr. Halter received huge infusions of funding from labor, the amount of money given to Ms. Lincoln by corporations and big economic interest groups outside Arkansas was also astonishing.  And the focus on labor's clout in our little state is ludicrously misplaced.
 
Unions are practically non-existent here.  They have no power at all here.  We are a right-to-work state with almost no legal protection at all for workers.  When the agrarian-populist movement tried to organize both white and black farm workers at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century, landowners in Ms. Lincoln's southeastern part of the state (where my roots lie, too), ruthlessly suppressed that movement by violence and sought to set the two groups against each other racially.  It has long been clear to most of us in this state that the tiny handful of very wealthy families who run things have make-or-break power over everyone else's lives.
 
If this race is seen as some kind of national referendum about the direction of the Democratic party, then those crowing about Ms. Lincoln's victory may want to take another look at the fairly sizable vote for her opponent, in a pretty conservative state that would normally not be well-disposed to Mr. Halter's more liberal politics.
 
It's dangerous, it seems to me, for the party as a whole, when beltway talking heads and those who echo them pontificate about what we "lefties" in the heartland should think or do.  It begins to appear to many of us that it's in the self-interest of centrists to massage very conservative Democratic groups outside the center of power, to assure a "balance" in the party which moves in the direction of the center.
 
To assure that the self-interest of those at the center is maintained, in other words.  That they can continue to call the shots for everyone else in the party, tisk-tisking about powerless leftie Democrats and claiming a support for human rights (e.g., the rights of workers, who are, I believe, human beings?), while belying that support through their collusion with conservative Democrats who don't share this support.
 
I often wish that those centrist Democrats who natter on about the solid traditional values of Democrats of the heartland would actually come among us and live with the effects of their conservative versions of politics for an extended period of time.  It's one thing to praise the solid faith and pro-life values of people in the heartland at a distance.  It might be altogether different, though, to live right there among those whose solid faith and pro-life values you're praising.  If you're a worker, say, whose job is suddenly ended and you have no recourse to challenge your unujust dismissal, and meager unemployment benefits to fall back on.
 
The center has held for now in this race so significant to people outside our little state.  But the price of holding the center is increasingly high, as more and more people who want a new and different kind of politics in the Democratic party are told they're simply unrealistic dreamers and immature lefties who need to grow up.
 
I tend to think that the ultimate outcome of this constant denigration of the left wing of the Democratic party by its right-leaning ("centrist") members will be to bring a really conservative version of the Republican party back into power.  And maybe that's what "centrist" Democratics really want to happen, because they may well be more at home with their ideological bedfellows of the right than they are with those on the left.
Tom Maher | 6/9/2010 - 12:33am
Blanche Lincoln winning the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate is significant. Big Labor vigorously oppossed her re-nomination primarily by giving her opponent, Bill Halter, union endorsement and tons of money to oppose her.

Surprisingly strong union oppositon was not enough to stop her.

Big Labor did not like Lincoln's succeddful opposition along with the Republican party in the Senate of the the union catd check proposal where a secret bollot would be bypassed if a union could colledct one at a time enough cards from employess saying they favored having union to represent them. An employee's privacy of choice for or against a union would be effectively lost. The union would systematically know everyone for or against unionizing a workplace. With this knowledge anyone opposed to unionizing could be put under every kind of pressure and imntimidation to change his or her mind on unionizing and be without effective recourse to resist unionizing. Card check would legalize union intimidation of individula employees. Amazingly even in a Democratic primary wher Big Labor is at its strongest a opponenbt to card check won.

This indeed does show show how very far left classic element of the Democratic party such as Big Labor are where even fellow Democrates reject their heavy-handed assult on individual employee;s right of self-determination of whether or not to unionize a worlplace. Even Democrats would not go along with favoring the collective power over the fair rights and importance of individual employees. This was a great victory for all emplyees for the Democrats to reject the unchecked raw political power of Big Labor. Good for Balanche Lincoln for sticking to principle against the odds of oppossing Big Labor political machine and winning anyhow.
John Hess | 6/8/2010 - 9:26pm
Micheal, I find your premise to be somewhat condescending to those of us who are apparently just too childlike to simply bow to your superior mature wisdom.  The idea that compromise is always good presupposes that both sides will always budge.  It also presupposes that the correct policy is somewhere in the middle.  If art took this approach every color would be beige and all music would sound like Abba.  As a matter of simple tactics, when only one side consistantly compromises, and the other side consistantly does not, then the first side will always lose ground.  If the voters who want to stand pat on an issue have sufficient numbers, then their representatives in government should stand pat in turn.  This is the way representative democracy works and you should respect the process.  And also the participants.  As an self proclaimed adult, I would especially expect you to understand the last point.  Extend respect, and more might come to agree with you.  
Steve Thorngate | 6/8/2010 - 1:32pm
While I can't speak for everyone to Obama's left, I don't think I'm the only one who knew he was a center-left pragmatist but supported him enthusiastically for his optimism, talent and intelligence-not to mention the fact that electing the first black president is a huge net positive, all else aside. It was never about ideological purity.
William Lindsey | 6/8/2010 - 11:37am
Bill Kurtz, come on down, and we'll get you quickly signed up to vote.  We tend to do things pretty informally in our little backwater state.  (And I hope you realize that's a facetious comment - that is, about signing up last-minute Halter voters from out of state, at least.)
 
Michael certainly has me pegged, with his sketch of one of the atypical (and perhaps not numerically significant) "leftie" Democratic voters of Arkansas.  And I do live in what's widely regarded as perhaps the most left-leaning neighborhood in the state, and I vote at a precinct that has come to be called the "mother church of liberalism" in the state.
 
So I can hardly claim to represent "the" outlook of Arkansas Democratic voters in this election.  Even so, I hear quite a bit of discontent from many quarters about how Ms. Lincoln sold out the Democratic values we assumed she had when we sent her to D.C., following Obama's election. 
 
And so this primary is, in some key respects, definitely a referendum about whether local Democrats want to continue the centrist route of first Bill Clinton and then Barack Obama, or to try something new, in the face of Ms. Lincoln's blue-dog style that has resisted even that centrism.  (I see Halter as primarily a centrist, and for that reason, I'm not wild about him even as I cast my vote for him.)
 
One thing about Arkansas voters: we're an ornery and unpredictable lot.  While we were returning the notorious racist governor Faubus to the state governor's seat, we kept electing one of the most liberal senators in the South, Fulbright.  And as our brother and sister states of the Old South were making a hard right turn, we were electing Dale Bumpers to the Senate.
 
Tell us what we should think and how we should vote, and we're likely to do the opposite.  But most of all, give us the sense that you don't care a great deal about the many significant needs of our people, while you're pocketing money hand over fist from big corporations and economic players from outside the state, and you're liable to set a strong reaction in motion, when people become aware of the real game you're playing.
William Kurtz | 6/8/2010 - 10:49am
I don't know all the particulars in Arkansas, but I suspect I'd go against Lincoln. Didn't Harry Truman say that if you give the voters a choice between two Republicans, they'd go with the real Republican every time?
By the way, my compliments to both MSW (for a thought-provoking article) and to some of his frequent sparring partners, for spirited but civilized responses.
Anonymous | 6/8/2010 - 10:16am
Just a few comments.
 
I find it interesting that the so called moderate or liberal Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have held the line with the Republicans all these months.  They easily could have been the 60th vote after Scott Brown was elected if they were disposed not just on health care but on all the other issues.
 
The Republicans have had several positions on health care that were never considered.  If anyone is interested in an analysis of the health care issue from a Republican point of view, they should read Sally Pipes book which is available on the internet in a pdf format.  It was issued during the 2008 campaign so the claim that the Republicans were just negative is not so.  Sally Pipes is coming out with another book this summer on the specific bill and how it should be changed to address all the real issues around health care.  Here is the link to Sally Pipes book from 2008.  Mr. Winters should read it to see if he can really make the claim that the Republicans were just saying ''N0.''
 
http://www.pacificresearch.org/docLib/20081020_Top_Ten_Myths.pdf
 
I find it hard to understand how an open ballot is better than a secret ballot in  getting at one's true feelings.  That is why the Card Check systems seems so reprehensible to me.
Anonymous | 6/8/2010 - 10:03am
I think what you're seeing on both the Left & Right is a rejection not so much of compromise or centrism, but rather of what has come to be called a sort of "corporatism".  As I understand this term, it was a consensus, largely centered on the DC-NYC corridor and between BOTH parties, that big business and big government went hand in hand & that government should protect big business because big business protected the rest of America.  Clintonism is its essence, which the Bush years, for the sturm und drag about its radical right wing-edness, continued for the most part.  I think you see a different set of politics emerging that calls for different solutions than the corporate policies that served to entrench big business, but as we know seem to see, left "main street" perilously on edge.  Personally, I prefer the "bottom-up" policies that conservatives like David Brooks, Ross Douthat and the "Red" Tories have supported.
 
I do have to agree with the spirit of Mr. Lindsey's comments about the problems of looking at some of these movements through DC lens.  I am NOT a member of the Tea Party, but I have been to a few meetings & they are NOTHING like what you hear portrayed.  Anything outside DC is always viewed derisively & with suspicion.
Vince Killoran | 6/8/2010 - 10:00am
The Democratic candidates who win legislative races are the ones that make clear & susbstantial distinctions between themselves and their Republican opponents. 
William Lindsey | 6/8/2010 - 8:47am
Well, we'll see, Michael.  For those of us actually living in Arkansas, things might appear very different than they appear to you in the power center of the nation.
 
For many of us here - whether we're "juvenile" Democrats who need to grow up, who are out of touch with "real" Americans who buy gas - Ms. Lincoln's shortcomings go way beyond her centrism or her failure to do the right thing by the health care debate.
 
Our concerns have a lot to do with the huge sums of money that big business has plunked down to assure her re-election.  Whereas a much higher proportion of Halter's support comes from individuals.
 
The money tells the story.  Blanche is in the pocket of huge economic players, who call the shots for her - and for us as a state, a poor, struggling, marginal state with low educational levels, where adequate health care for all citizens is an imperative need.  And who call the shots for the nation as a whole, since every senator's vote counts in national-level deliberations.
 
I must confess that I grow a bit weary these days of the supercilious adult-child metaphor, which seems to have sprouted all over various blogs in recent weeks.  Amost always to marginalize the viewpoints of those who don't toe the party line - who dare to believe that we can be something better, as a nation (and a church) than the centrists have told us we dare seek to be. 
 
Today's juvenile often turns out to be tomorrow's taken-for-granted moral consensus, an insight so significant to the moral consensus of society that we can't imagine living without it.  Or why the powerbrokers of the old order declared this particular insight, and those promoting it, juvenile.
 
We'll see what the election results demonstrate.  Polls aren't running in Ms. Lincoln's favor, from what I'm hearing.  Of course, when the (centrist) Democratic machine shuts down 38 out of 40 early voting sites in one of our most populous counties, which went heavily against Ms. Lincoln in the first round of voting, who knows how much we can trust the results once the votes have been counted, anyway?