I am not what you would call a big fan of Blanche Lincoln. (The cool kids call that “understatement.”) Other than the fact that there is no way I would consider voting for the poor-blocking lineman from Fort Smith High, I’m still not sure how I am going to vote in this race. BUT — and that is a “but” so big that even Sir Mix-a-Lot would approve — if there is one argument to be made for why people should vote for Lincoln, it is the argument that John Brummett made very well today.
You people fully intend to do what you’re doing, apparently. But I’d thought I’d lay it out, anyway, so that we could stand back and take a look at it.
You are getting ready to turn down a revenue stream for withering rural Arkansas in exchange for giving Oklahoma its third senator.
That is to say you are preparing to eject from the U.S. Senate a woman who is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees a federal Agriculture Department that does much more than subsidize big farmers. It administers all manner of rural development grants and loans.
I speak of Blanche Lincoln and of the fact that she trails John Boozman by anywhere from 17 to 38 points, depending on the poll.
In her place you are preparing to install, in this Boozman, a party-line conservative Republican from the western edge of the state who will have more in common with the intense Republicanism of the two Oklahoma senators to his near-west than with the rural sectors of Arkansas to the south and east.
You are bound and determined to do this because you are sick of federal spending, apparently, even as your state is inordinately needy and even as your long beleaguered state is newly and uniquely positioned to cash in.
You either should be applauded for your sacrificial altruism or slapped in the face in hopes you can regain your lost marbles.
Yes, good ol’ Arkansas: The state with more needs than most and the state that is now preparing to disarm its needy self unilaterally in service to the prospect of new fiscal discipline in federal government spending.
Surely you know what is likely to happen: We’ll trade in a spender for a non-spender at the very moment we’re in a position to rack up, this for the purpose of joining a new national spending discipline widely hailed for the moment but likely never to materialize.
[***]Our new state motto: No thanks.
I supported Bill Halter during the primary not because I wanted change for change’s sake, but because I did not think Lincoln had done a good job representing my interests or the interests of most in the Democrat Party. Her recent actions vis-a-vis the DREAM Act and the DISCLOSE Act have done nothing to change my opinion on that matter, nor has the fact that, other than getting Halter’s endorsement, Lincoln has done nothing to reach out to the more liberal/progressive voters who opposed her through June 8th. I also hate the “lesser of two evils” approach to voting.
All the same, at some point, I wonder if even the most liberal/progressive voters aren’t better served voting for Lincoln. She might not ever remind us of Ted Kennedy, but if the alternative is Boozman (R — Wal-Mart), Lincoln’s ability to bring money to the areas of this state that need it most has to be considered.