Remember way back before things got ugly, when Blanche Lincoln ran this ad:
“I don’t answer to my party; I answer to Arkansas.”
Interesting. You see, I would assume that someone who doesn’t answer to her party would similarly not hide behind her party purely to cover her political backside. I would assume that someone who “answers to Arkansas” and who brags for weeks about her tough derivative reform bill and how “it’s gonna pass” would be upfront with Arkansans about the status of her derivative reform bill.
Clearly, I would be wrong on both assumptions:
But they may have gotten themselves stuck with it–at least for now. With their assent, the plan was authored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who designed it to guard her left flank against a somewhat formidable primary challenge, and has been boasting of it on populist grounds for weeks. And that according to Republican and Democratic Senate sources, has led Democrats to quietly agree to postpone any changes they decide to make to her proposal until after this Tuesday’s election has passed, to avoid embarrassing her in front of voters.
“I got a pretty good idea that it won’t be dealt with before Tuesday,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said last night, in response to a question from TPMDC.
One option for Democrats, though, is to leave Lincoln’s title in the bill unaltered, and deal with the spin-off provision, which isn’t part of the House legislation, when the two chambers meet to iron out differences between their bills. That would allow them to protect Lincoln without wasting several days of floor time.
Corker knows this: “So the question is will it be dealt with after that or will they try to fix it in conference where they can do it behind closed doors.” And we should know soon how prescient he’s being. Senators on both sides of the aisle, wary of coming down on the side of Wall Street, have thusfar been reluctant to touch Lincoln’s provision, fearing the potential political backlash.
I don’t even know what to say about Sen. Lincoln at this point. She’s been dishonest, either literally or impliedly, for months about pretty much everything, so this is far from a shock. She’s run one of the more disgusting campaigns I’ve seen an incumbent for any seat run recently. And, now that neither of those methods has ensured that she won’t lose, she’s willing to just let her fellow Senators protect her with their own inaction.
This is precisely the kind of thing that Bill Halter, D.C. Morrison, John Adams, and Joyce Elliott (to name but a few) are talking about when they say that “Washington is broken.” Heck, even Gilbert Baker and Scott Wallace have played the “broken” card when talking about why they are running. And when CYA duty for a fellow Senator trumps actually moving forward on meaningful financial reform, you don’t get much more “broken” than that.