So, let me get this straight…
Blanche Lincoln was comfortably ahead by double digits about a month ago. Rather than run ads promoting herself and acting like Bill Halter didn’t exist, she chose to go negative, and her poll numbers have take a predictable hit. (Note to front-running candidates: negative only works if (a) it’s done creatively and (b) you are trailing, not leading.)
Then, despite being one of the most visible Senators who worked to strip the public option from HCR and who voted against the reconciliation bill, she chooses to try and spin her one “yes” vote for the original Senate bill into “standing with President Obama.” Worse, she targets primarily African-American communities, almost as if she assumed that those voters would be swayed by a pro-Obama commercial rather than by the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Because, you know, assuming minority voters are ignorant of reality is a great way to reach them.
Now, after repeated prodding from the Halter camp, she has agreed to a debate with Halter at UALR later this month. Good lord. Anyone who has heard Blanche speak in public, even in informal settings, can tell you that she is not exactly eloquent. She has a tendency to stumble and pause and seem nervous whenever she is discussing an issue on which she has not sided with her party. Halter, on the other hand, is a solid public speaker who doesn’t come off as too “slick” in his answers. (At least in my opinion, I suppose.)
On top of this “taking a knife to a gun fight” handicap Lincoln will face, there is also the simple fact that she has nothing to gain and everything to lose in this debate. Oh, sure, in theory she could turn in a tour de force performance and sway a bunch of undecided voters, but the odds of that happening are about the same as the odds of John Boehner giving up the tanning bed. The reality is that, if she gives a solid performance, she won’t lose any voters; if she gets destroyed by Halter, she will. Simple as that.
For whatever reason, Blanche Lincoln has run her entire campaign as if she were the underdog, despite seeing the underdog tactics continue to whittle away at her lead in the polls. It’s almost as if she doesn’t see the causal relationship between her actions and the voters’ reactions. Could it be that Blanche is really that out of touch with Democratic voters in Arkansas?