(h/t Blake’s Think Tank) Here is the copy of the aforementioned radio ad that President Obama cut in support of Senator Lincoln.
This is President Barack Obama and I want to tell you why I support Senator Blanche Lincoln for re-election in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, May 18.
Blanche is leading the fight to hold Wall Street accountable and make sure that Arkansas taxpayers are never again asked to bailout Wall Street bankers.
She is standing on the side of workers who’ve lost their jobs in this recession by extending unemployment insurance payments and health care while they try to get back on their feet. And she cast crucial votes to create new jobs in Arkansas and all across America.
On health care, Blanche took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with pre-existing conditions and fought for tax credits that will help thousands of local small businesses provide insurance to their employees.
I urge you to join me in supporting Senator Blanche Lincoln for re-election on Tuesday, May 18th.
I just don’t get it. And, by “it,” I mean “why President Obama would support Blanche Lincoln at all, let alone come out vocally in support of her.” Not when she was part of the group who killed the public option and not when you can all but guarantee that Bill Halter would be more supportive of President Obama’s agenda than Lincoln has been. The only thing I can come up with is that President Obama buys the conventional “wisdom” that Lincoln has a better chance of beating John Boozman (or, I suppose, Gilbert Baker) than does Halter. (Nevermind that the numbers absolutely do not bear this out, to say nothing of Arkansas’s history of not voting for Republicans for U.S. Senate.)
Apparently, I’m not the only one troubled by the President’s support of Ms. Lincoln. The SEIU is running an ad in response to the President’s.
“I’m a strong supporter of President Obama,” one person says in the ad. “But I’m voting for Bill Halter,” says another, in succession.
Interestingly enough, the SEIU ad directly contradicts Obama on numerous points.
Obama says Lincon [sic] is “leading the fight to hold Wall Street accountable and make sure that Arkansas taxpayers are never again asked to bail out Wall Street bankers”; SEIU’s ad says Lincoln “voted to bail out Wall Street.” Obama says Lincoln is “standing on the side of workers who’ve lost their jobs in this recession”; SEIU’s ad says Lincoln “turned her back on the middle class.” Obama says that “on health care, Blanche took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with preexisting conditions”; SEIU’s ad says Lincoln “refused to take on the big insurance companies” even though she “says she supported health reform.”
SEIU spent tens of millions of dollars helping Obama get elected in 2008, and it’s considered one of Obama’s most prominent backers on the left. But the union has backed Lt. Gov Bill Halter in a primary challenge to Lincoln in 2010, after years of frustration with Lincoln for her failure to come out in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier for workers to form unions and a top legislative priority of the labor movement for years.