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How Blanche Lincoln won

1. Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln's Democratic runoff victory Tuesday night proved that conventional wisdom is often wrong.

Lincoln's political obituary was written in the days after she narrowly bested Lt. Gov. Bill Halter -- 44.5 percent to 42.5 percent -- in the May 18 primary under the theory that voters not already with the incumbent wouldn't wind up with her on June 8.

What happened?

Lincoln always had an electoral base -- as was made evident in the primary -- in the 1st and 2nd districts. She had represented the 1st district from 1992 to 1996 and had strong ties in and around Little Rock (Pulaski County), which comprises the heart of the 2nd. Halter, by contrast had no obvious geographic base and his strength among liberals nationally didn't translate all that well in Arkansas where liberals do not make up a particularly large portion of the vote even in a Democratic primary.

Lincoln also had a (not so secret) weapon on her side in former President -- and, more importantly, former Arkansas Governor -- Bill Clinton. Clinton appeared in Little Rock in late May and appeared in television ads for her in the final week of the runoff. Even the Halter forces acknowledged that Clinton was, without question, the most popular political figure in the state. Lincoln's margins -- particularly in Pulaski -- seem to be a direct result of Clinton's support.

Finally, Lincoln stuck to her message -- I am one of you and will fight for you -- from the start of her advertising in the primary to the end of her television ads in the runoff. Her final, direct-to-camera ad was powerful stuff that tapped into the genuineness voters are looking for in their politicians. "I'd rather lose this election by fighting for what is right than win it by turning my back on Arkansas," she said at the ad's close.

Lincoln's victory provides -- yet more -- evidence that candidates and campaigns matter even with a strong anti-incumbent wind blowing nationally. Whether she can overcome the conservative tilt of the Razorback State in the general election against Rep. John Boozman, however, is an entirely different question.

2. Lost amid South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley's (R) dominating performance in the Palmetto State governor's race -- she took 49 percent of the vote in a four-way field but faces a June 22 runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett -- is the fact that the nastiness of the race's final week produced extremely high turnout.

Approximately 420,000 votes were cast in the South Carolina primary on Tuesday night, the most in a non-presidential Republican primary in the Palmetto State since 1996.

Even the the 2008 GOP presidential primary -- won by Arizona Sen. John McCain -- in which 445,000 people voted was not a significant increase over the number of people who cast ballots last night. (The largest turnout ever in a Republican primary? The 2000 fight between McCain and George W. Bush where 570,000 people voted.)

Those numbers suggest that the allegations of infidelity directed toward Haley in the final week of the campaign -- not to mention the ethnic slur about Haley that came from Republican state Sen. Jake Knotts -- had the opposite effect of most negative campaigning: it made people MORE likely to vote and MORE likely to vote for Haley.

Given that dynamic, a runoff victory seems a near-certainty for Haley even though Barrett and his team pledged to seriously contest the race. Even the Republican Governors Association seemed ready to move on; "The voters of South Carolina made a clear choice in Nikki Haley, notwithstanding the possibility of a runoff," said RGA executive director Nick Ayers. "The outcome is all but certain."

3. In the establishment versus insurgent fight in Republican House primaries, Tuesday's results provided a mixed bag.

Republicans got their top choice candidates in all of their targeted primary races in New Jersey and Virginia. (In the Commonwealth, auto dealer Scott Rigell and state Sen. Robert Hurt beat back tea party activists to win the nominations in the 2nd and 5th districts, respectively.)

But there was plenty of fodder for establishment consternation as well.

South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, who has alienated conservatives on several counts including his vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), took less than 28 percent of the vote and will by a heavy underdog against Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy in a runoff on June 22.

National GOP favorites also lost in several other races, including three members of the NRCC Young Guns program who fell to non-Young Guns candidates in their primaries. Chief among them was former Iowa State wrestling coach Jim Gibbons who lost to state Sen. Brad Zaun by double digits in the 3rd district primary. South Dakota state Rep. Blake Curd finished third in his primary.

4. Republicans have a strong chance of taking the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) in November, according to a new GOP poll of the race.

The poll, which was conducted for GOP nominee Rick Crawford's campaign and obtained by The Fix, shows Crawford leading former Berry chief of staff Chad Causey, who won Tuesday's runoff, 40 percent 34 percent in a head-to-head matchup.

Republican expectations in the district were tempered when, after Berry's retirement, Republicans failed to recruit a big name into the race. But Crawford, an agricultural broadcaster, appears to be benefiting from a bad environment for Democrats -- particularly in the South.

Crawford is still an unknown quantity who will need to raise more money. (He had $183,000 in the bank as of mid-May.) But Republicans lead the generic ballot 47 percent to 36 percent in the poll, and 54 percent of voters disapprove of President Obama, including 46 percent who "strongly disapprove."

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies among 300 likely voters and has a 5.7 percent margin of error. It was done shortly after Crawford won his primary three weeks ago.

5. Businessman Tim James (R) is demanding a recount in the Alabama gubernatorial primary after state elections officials announced yesterday that he came up short of making the runoff.

James came in third in last week's primary, trailing former state Sen. Bradley Byrne (R) and state Rep. Robert Bentley (R). James was initially 208 votes behind Bentley but after provisional ballots were counted yesterday, he trailed by only 167.

Alabama law does not require an automatic runoff in close races, and state Attorney General Troy King (R) issued an opinion yesterday confirming that any candidate seeking a recount must request it and pay for it out of his own pocket.

James said that's something he's willing to do; in a statement Tuesday night he called the race a "virtual tie" and noted that there's "never been a vote this close in a Republican gubernatorial primary." He also penned a message to supporters asking them for contributions, because "if it's up to us to pay for a recount, it will be costly."

Bentley, meanwhile, is declaring that he has earned a spot in the runoff.

"Many hard-fought campaigns are close, but there can be only one winner. I won and am in the run-off," he wrote in a statement on his campaign website.

With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 9, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Blanche Lincoln wins Arkansas Senate race; Nikki Haley in SC runoff
Next: Super Duper Tuesday: The Winners and Losers


African Americans without health insurance and/or who are unemployed and supported Lincoln better never complain about their circumstances again.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | June 10, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but that was yesterday. I didn't notice either halter or Lincoln being all that nasty with the other personally, just belly bumping and claiming to be the better democrat. some fence mending required but, from a distance it looks like no permanent scars.

SO, how much of the center does Blanche control? if she has the 15% on either side of the middle, she needs just 120% more from the Halter people to be unbeatable. If the dems keep their wits about them, she may have 55% of the vote.

The T-s and Conservatives seem to feel that far left liberals unhappy about the democrat in the race will choose a flaming Conservative?


Posted by: ceflynline | June 9, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The Meg and Carli show? And when the MCP's in the Republican party revert to MCP form, the meg and carly show can't even rely on the REAL Republican Party, grumpy old white men.

Carli had better tread very lightly on her claimed Silicon valley Creds, because geeks at least remember. Like their cushy jobs going to Bangalore, taking their over priced San Jose bungalows with them. If YOU were living in a box sleeping on iceberg plants on the LA Freeway, would YOU vote for Carlui. And if you are constantly spammed by faux E-Bay claims that you bought some geegaw on E-Bay and you owe $1500, you MIGHT not like Meg all that much either. Not, of course, that I am channeling Dick Tuck, but watch out for e-claims to snow you in California about a week before Haloween.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 9, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"How Lincoln won?" Real simple, ACORN, and the SEIU..

Posted by: wewintheylose | June 9, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Obama's press release this afternoon where they stated that the SEIU
and AFL just flushed $10 million in valuable resources down the toilet that easily could have helped in states like Pa, Ohio and New Hampshire which will likely have nailbiting Senate races. Its doubtful union leaders would be happy with a R Congress, so throwing a tantrum and sitting out an election cycle would be self defeating and doubtful.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Obama's press release this afternoon where they stated that the SEIU
and AFL just flushed $10 million in valuable resources down the toilet that easily could have helped in states like Pa, Ohio and New Hampshire which will likely have nailbiting Senate races. Its doubtful union leaders would be happy with a R Congress, so throwing a tantrum and sitting out an election cycle would be self defeating and doubtful.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln is anti-union and I'm appalled Obama supported her. He's probably lost their endorsement in 2012. They'll sit it out.

Posted by: blarsen1 | June 9, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

incidentally since all campaigns have large
mail out ballot operations targeted to supporting seniors(I know I have run them in
multiple state and national campaigns) where
in the world do you come up with this b.s.
that senior absentee ballots are being stollen. That is paranoid insanity.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I am a troll??? have been at this site for 2 years and never heard that crap; not about
honest or good govt brigade, again you are a fool and know zero about me since I have volunteered 100s of hours as a voter protection
lawyer and conducted classes dealing with those
legal issues. again brigade you are a fool
who loves to throw insults against anyone
who does not agree with your right wing agenda.

I have been in charge of absentee ballot operations in Denver and Cleveland for 2 US
Senate races and conducted voter outreach to
every nursing home facility in Cleveland and Shaker Hts. on behalf of the Strickland campaign. The only effort I have seen of tampering with absentee
ballots was in 2004 in the Dever state campaign office where a bag of absentee ballots
we delivered to the Denver post office mysteriously disappeared and never explained by the postal authorities or the state GOP.

As to White apparently you ignored my post
siting every ground of Perry mismanagement
including our $18 billion dollar debt that
you apparently could care less about. I know the people running the White campaign and I don t believe a word you are saying other than your obvious hatred of Democrats. The campaign office has assured me that they have spoken with you, and that is 15 minutes more of fame than you deserve. mark knows my credibility you are welcome to discuss it with him.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Garland Ak. had many polls closed by organised Deems. Lincoln won with Bill C. by cheating in 3 pts. This does not bode well for Obama or Bill ( millionaires) sticking their nose into places where familes are hurting. "The more they remain the same. $$$$$$$$$$$$"

Posted by: crrobin | June 9, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

BobbyWC wrote,
"Now Leichtman - explain why White remains silent thereby supporting the stealing of mail-ballots from seniors..."

You're wasting your keystrokes. Leichtman1 is a Democratic troll. He's not about honesty or good government.

Posted by: Brigade | June 9, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

first of all Leichtman - you are the typical facts do not matter support anyone type person which is destroying this country.

You are very misinformed when you say White's people have asked that I stop telling the truth - ever since his son made perfectly clear to me White will stand with the corruption of the LRGV I have not heard a word from White or his cronies on this issue.

You are typical of all the head in the sand lemmings who support party instead of people.

Mark in Austin can verify I am not a Perry supporter. There is a black out in the news media of my work against Perry. The lead voices to keep my work silent are from the Tex. Dems themselves - because if the truth ever comes out about Perry and his corruption it leads right to the old guard Dems.

I am tired of the corruption on both sides. This is where America is at this moment - you insist on attacking anyone who does not support old guard politics - you are the past, and thank god for that

you are the past - but continue to mislead people about my work - since you have no knowledge of the facts misleading people is all you have.

Again - ask Mark if there is any possibility I want to see Perry win -

I never ask anyone to believe me when I talk about the corruption in the LRGV.

So Leichtman if you want to continue to support the stealing of elections by Democrats you continue to support White who has made clear he will not denounce the Dems of the LRGV and their policy of stealing mail-ballots from seniors.

In part one the first voter witness is Ricardo Liceaga. If you look to the top of the document you should be able to figure out how to fast forward to page 73.

Now Leichtman - explain why White remains silent thereby supporting the stealing of mail-ballots from seniors,.

This is why he will loose when he should be able to beat Perry - White is old guard and would rather keep the corruption alive in the Dem party than lead.

This is 100% the same message every politico seems to be learning except your bro White

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | June 9, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Whether she can overcome the conservative tilt of the Razorback State in the general election against Rep. John Boozman, however, is an entirely different question."

That of course was and is the 64-dollar question. But I'll note that all those months and millions spent on relentless attacks from the left on Lincoln's liberal credentials, likely won't hurt her much in that regard.

Posted by: CalD | June 9, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The one explanation of how Lincoln won missing in this article is that it was stolen.

It seems that the Democrats have not only copied Republican policies but their election tactics.

Posted by: Desertstraw | June 9, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The "throw the bums out" attitude is stronger on the right than it is on the left, isn't it? So, sure, Lincoln survived a challenge from her left, but is this anti-incumbent fervor or simply a business-as-usual targeting of a legislator by one or more national organizations? The defeats of Bob Bennett and Trey Greyson were both national AND local.

Posted by: dognabbit | June 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

End result: Cali has a mail-in ballot, so the extremist radical Republicant didn't win, but the far-right-of-center one did.

And everyone else didn't so nobody bothered voting.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 9, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

bobbwc: the White campaign is fully aware
that you are trashing them and helping
Perry; they have politely asked you to stop
unless you are working to support Rick Perry,the worst
Governor this state has ever had. If you like
cronism keep it up; if you prefer Phlyss
Sclafely over Thomas Jefferson keep it up;
if you are thrilled with an $18 billion
state debt keep helping Perry;if you are happy with Rick Perry branding texas as scessionists and nullificationere even though it turns off copr relocations keep it up; if you are
happy that Rick Perry lies and says we
have no highschool dropout problem keep helping Perry. Your loss. But as a native
Texan I am going to do everything in my power
to end Rick Perry's 10 year rein of terror.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree as usual with both of your comments about low turnout in the LRGV and the need
to pound Perry on your time is up 10 years
is way too long for any politican to be in office. I would also hope White emphasizes his support from the Houston business community
and our dirty little secret, that our $18
billion dollar deficit exceeds California's.
I have also read that Perry whined about
refusing to take federal stimulus funds then did exactly that except for the desperately needed education funds. Term Limiting Perry; Business Support by White; Lying about stimulus money(no one likes a hypocrit especially his TeaParty base); and the exploding historically high state Debt is the key imho mark.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, it's tough. No matter how good the candidate is and how well suited he is for his election, sometimes, the party affiliation is just too much to overcome. We have Charlie Melancon running for Senate in Louisiana against David Vitter. Melancon is a good fit for the state. Pretty conservative in terms of values, economically progressive, against things like cap and trade, the health care law, and so forth. But he's still a huge underdog to Vitter and I'll be really surprised if he wins. Even with Vitter's fidelity issues and his steadfast support of BP, I don't see Melancon taking this and it's certainly not a matter of the DNC not understanding southern politics.

I'm not really sure how you reverse such a deadlock that one political party has. I suppose the best way is to let the Republicans continue to eat themselves through the teabaggers and misguided notions of party purity. But honestly, I don't think the GOP is dumb enough to let this sort of thing go on for multiple election cycles. Eventually they are going to realize they need to be more diverse, not less.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

mark, in case you have not seen it the Dem Party is pushing too many appointment issue.

This may have worked in the old days, but it ignores the reality on the ground and politicians unwilling to accept the reality on the ground - left right bi/left right are loosing.

White is running the worse possible campaign. He is running on the help of the old guard - the very people the people have rejected.

The LRGV wants to vote - but why should we. White and his compadre Radnofsky (Dem for AG) refuse to denounce the corruption in the LRGV.

I knwo people do not like this when I post links, but if you want to know how the old guard dems in Texas run elections you need to read just the testimony of the first witness.

They believe it is their right to steal mail-ballots from senior citizens. Until White and Radnofsky denounce the corruption they can count on the LRGV staying home.

the same applies to every politician nationwide - it is time for politicians to realize we are fed up on all sides of the political spectrum.

As ot Lincoln - in major part she won because outsiders tried to run the election. Elections right now must be local.

In part one the first voter witness is Ricardo Liceaga. If you look to the top of the document you should be able to figure out how to fast forward to page 73.

Posted by: bobbywc | June 9, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

ddawd: I would ad Howard Dean to my comment that only the Clintons understand the south and Carville but few others at the DNC.
Unfortunately Ds keep losing southern campaigns even with great candidates, and
many of us down here are sick of that streak.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin writes:
"Ryan and Clemens were intense weight lifters, to build muscle, throughout their careers."

The steroids probably didn't hurt The Rocket either, except for that big callous he must have on his rear end.

Posted by: mnteng | June 9, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, BobbyWC says there will be no turnout in the LRGV. I am sure he is correct. I hope White was not actually counting on LRGV turnout - it hasn't materialized in years, and Bobby says White is not doing anything different than business as usual down there.

To both of you - I ran into Ben Barnes at breakfast a few days ago. He thought that White still had a real shot, but his advice directly to White days earlier was to emulate Big John's campaign against Price Daniel. Daniel was more popular then, than Goodhair is, now. Connally's simple campaign theme was that Daniel had been in office too long and had too many crony appointments. Pounded that again and again.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Third try at getting past the filter...

Shrink: My first attempt at explaining the parallels between Obama and Haley got sequestered by the filter.

Both are relatively young and new to the game, having been elected their previous seats in 2004.

Both "look different" from the rest of their party's elected leadership and have had to contend with ethnicly based slurs.

Both benefitted from voter discontent with an incumbent in the position they're running for (e.g. Bush and Sanford) that generated a desire in voters for change from the status quo.

Both leap-frogged over more senior members of their party to win nomination and both will have to deal (or are already dealing with) with those senior members of their own party that they brushed past either not following their lead or working to undermine their agendas.

Both represent generational change that threatens to supplant their party's current senior leadership.

Yes, they hold very different political views, but the are having the same effects on their environments and will deal with the same resistances while governing.

Does that help explain it?

Posted by: Gallenod | June 9, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

ddwad Halter's involvement with out of state
Progressives was his downfall. Locals don't
much want to be told who too vote for and
Lincoln's heavy southern Arkansas accent told the whole story. I prefer Halter's politics
but would not have committed political suicide
and voted for him. I suspect that Lincoln will get a bump in her polling next week and would not count her out especially if Bill can act as an intermediary with the unions and get them to back off in Nov and fully understand the consequences of her potential loss. Its in their hands to now make peace or destroy Lincoln let's see what they prefer.

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

leichtman, I disagree that the Clintons are the only ones who understand the need to get moderate southern Dems. The DNC has been courting moderates for the last several election cycles. It's been a prominent part of their strategy to regain power after Republicans took charge in 1994. That's why you see the preponderance of these Blue Dogs. Yeah, they can be annoying, but they are also keeping the Speaker gavel in Nancy Pelosi's hand. Republicans are having a good time with the Critz election since he is a conservative Democrat, but to anyone who has been following the Dems' electoral strategy, a conservative Democrat is old news. Been there, will keep doing that. Republicans can claim moral victory, but Dems will wield the real power.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I hote posts with vitriolic language like "leftwing loonies." An otherwise good point becomes lost - many readers simply shut down reading once they see the language.

For what ever reason the unions decided she was not right for them. In considering this they did not consider the mood in the country that no one wants outsiders telling them what to do. This may have helped Lincoln more than Clinton.

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | June 9, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

vrn and alance I couldn't have said it any better. If Progressives are serious about Ds
keeping control over Congress they need to start understanding the south. We are conservative down here and only conservative Ds can win in he south, period.
If Progressives would prefer McConnell and Boehner setting the agenda next Jan(more wasteful tax cuts and the subpoena power) then
they should continue throwing(wasting) millions against southern D conservatives who they don't agree with 100%. Other Ds understand
that Ds like Lincoln are better than the alternative and the only Ds who are electable here. Curious why the Clintons seem to be the only D leaders who truly appreciate and understand southern politics?

Posted by: leichtman1 | June 9, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse


To all the far-left loonies who wanted to see Blanche Lincoln defeated, well I guess I've already said enough. But in the strictly "for what it's worth" department, you're being total morons. I know Blanche's voting record has not been as liberal as - say - Barbara Boxer's, But that's because she represents AR, not CA. You say she's not doing enough for you? Well, she can't do anything for you if she loses her senate seat. If you'd rather the seat go to a right-wing republican, see my earlier statement about loonies. Purging the party of anyone to the right of Henry Wallace is not a good idea.

Posted by: vrnnwillis75 "

If you place any stock in the general election polling, Halter was doing better against the potential Republican candidates than Lincoln.

I do agree with the general point that it's not a good idea to purge moderates in favor of unelectable ideologues, but first of all, Halter, was supported by unions, but wasn't all that much of an extreme left winger. And second, he seemed to be doing better in the polls.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

To all the far-left loonies who wanted to see Blanche Lincoln defeated, well I guess I've already said enough. But in the strictly "for what it's worth" department, you're being total morons. I know Blanche's voting record has not been as liberal as - say - Barbara Boxer's, But that's because she represents AR, not CA. You say she's not doing enough for you? Well, she can't do anything for you if she loses her senate seat. If you'd rather the seat go to a right-wing republican, see my earlier statement about loonies. Purging the party of anyone to the right of Henry Wallace is not a good idea.

Posted by: vrnnwillis75 | June 9, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Lincoln knows the people of Arkansas. They are moderately conservative. She has the wisdom to know when to put on the brakes - so she can keep her seat in the Senate.

To the liberal/progressives she was a traitor for trying to get re-elected. Word of advice: if Democrats from moderately conservative states want to get re-elected - pay attention to Blanche and see how she votes.

Posted by: alance | June 9, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

RE: Strasburg, Prior, and Wood--

The best thing for young Strasburg is if the Nats stay out of playoff contention for a couple years. What killed Prior and Wood was overuse down the stretch during that one year when the Cubs had a chance to break the curse. The team relied on those two young pitchers way more than they should have, and neither was ever the same again after that season.

Pitching mechanics may have played a part for both Prior and Wood, but I think the bigger part was heavy overuse in a tight pennant race and hard-fought post-season. Cubs' coaches put that one season ahead of the long-term health of their two young pitchers, and they ended up losing both still failing to reach the Series. Keep the Nats out of contention for two years (or else put them 10 games up on September 1) so that Strasburg doesn't become a crutch, and he'll gain years in longevity.

Posted by: blert | June 9, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Looks like it was the Clintons' Arkansas Mafia that did Halter in.

At least Halter didn't end up like Vince Foster, Ron Brown, Mary Mahoney, or Buddy the Dog...

Posted by: pmendez | June 9, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Mark, Mnteng, I really know next to nothing on the strategies of limiting pitcher abuse. It's definitely more than just pitch counts.

And for all the Woods and Priors and so forth that we know about, there are countless pitchers who never even make it to the majors.

One thing for sure, if there's a team that can figure this out, that team will have a huge competitive advantage.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mnteng, I had not seen your post when I wrote, but I think we are saying the same thing. The other factors beside pitch count in a stint are rest between stints and mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.

I chose 6 innings rather than the pitch count as a rule of thumb, but I agree that if you are throwing 20 pitches per inning 5 innings are plenty.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Ddawd, I have read the same. But most shoulders do not mature completely until age 26. The whip action in connective tissue at wrist, elbow, and shoulder is the genesis of the pitch, and lean pitchers generate greater force on the connective tissue than muscular pitchers, who can compensate somewhat with muscle power. Ryan and Clemens were intense weight lifters, to build muscle, throughout their careers.

Bob Gibson used to explain about mechanics of pitching that if you were pitching mechanically correctly you could, once you were mature, throw 170 pitches without tiring. He would point to the much older Spahn, who retired in his 40s, as a mechanically correct pitcher, and Gibson always knew when he himself was not good with his mechanics.

But a young arm not only needs to limit pitches, and for a long time, many college coaches have thought 85
pitches were plenty, it needs more rest between outings. There is also the probability that a kid has not learned his mechanics, and his feel for his own mechanics, yet. That is what pitching coaches are really supposed to help with. Clemens had a tendency in college and in his early years with the Sox to lose his groove, but his Bosox p. coach did not see it. His UT coach did, and for the first three years he was in the bigs, he still relied on communications with his old coach in Austin.

I think Kerry Wood was terribly coached, and I think Dwight Gooden got completely "used up". So when a Strasbourg hits the bigs at 21, I root for him and hope he will be well taken care of.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Now, Arkansas working people will be faced with a true Republican who wants to bach unions, sell out to corporate interests, and destroy the social safety net vs a Democrat who will half-heartedly -- at best -- kind of not support those things.

Why choose the fake Republican when you can vote for the real one?

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. Lincoln polled worse in the general than Bill halter did. She will get creamed. Halter at least had a fighting chance. And, I guarantee yoiu he would have been a serious challenger =to Bozzman had Bill Clinton not gotten involved as heavily as he did. he could then campaign full bore for Halter without looking like a complete hypocrite.

The myth that progressive can't win in Arkansas was exactly what the conservadems were afraid would be busted if Halter won. That's why they so desperately fought to save Lincoln's bacon. She's a goner. And now the Dem establishemnt will come looking for money and volunteers -- and will be shocked at how few people respond. They shouldn't be.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Like DDAWD said, it is mostly about pitch counts. A decent analogy for Strasburg, at least for body size and shape, is Justin Verlander (DET) who also throws ~100 mph and is about 6' 5", 225 lbs. Limited to ~100 pitches per start his rookie year (2006) and hasn't had arm problems yet. Verlander did spend a year in the minors first though.

Wood had problems with his mechanics, particularly when he threw his slurve (across his body), and that put a lot of stress on his elbow. Though Prior's mechanics were initially thought to be excellent, more recently, some scouts think his arm action has led to his shoulder problems. Strasburg throws like Prior, except harder.

Posted by: mnteng | June 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

well, of course lincoln won. easy to do when you disenfranchise a county likely to vote against you. it's a well-established tactic in american politics -- see how well lincoln has learned from the republicans.

Posted by: mycomment
- - - - - - - - - -
Have you AND your ancestors been in a continuous coma for the last century and a half (of course, I approximate here as I’m terrible with dates and also too lazy to Google)? Democrats invented it (I think in New York but there might be other jurisdictions that predate that), Democrats perpetuate it, Democrats will not repudiate it – their entire political life/livelihood absolutely depends on it – and Republicans are only neophyte newcomers to the party...but it all sucks bilge water!

Posted by: sosueme1 | June 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Why did Bill Clinton go all the way out for that big-corporate Republican in Democratic clothing, Blanche Lincoln? Clinton owes a huge apology to the people of Arkansas - and America.

Posted by: algasema1 | June 9, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand how the Liberal Mind calls 2008 a re-alignment. America had the worst president ever in the White House and the biggest financial debacle ever too. From this Liberals gain license to conduct a Sherman's March through the Deep South? (As much license as Sherman had I guess.)

Posted by: blasmaic


Yes, yes they do. But instead of interment camps they have the right to educate these barefoot schlubs who toil for their masters and never get anything in return but a decline in quality of life. Sp Sputherns kick and scream all you want; we're going to drag you into the 21st Century and then into the 2000's.

Posted by: theobserver4 | June 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I jsut read a headline on another news service "Palin Clinton win without running."

Does this tell us that both sides with a credible voice on their side (credible from the perspective of the given side, not generally) can control an outcome? If this is true, how does this play in November?

Is November going to be Palin v. Clinton? Now that would be cool and interesting.

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | June 9, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris, it did me good to see you write these words: "proved that conventional wisdom is often wrong." I notice from your writing and the other WaPo reporters gone is the Talking Point of the Tea Party Triumphant and gone is banner statements of the Wave of Anti-Incumbents. Hard to make those statements when the facts don't completely bear you out. It must really bother reporters that elections often have a nasty way of spoiling your through lines and talking points. So please, Chris - and I really do respect your writing - but please remember your own words, "that conventional wisdom is often wrong" the next time you feel the urge to put on your Swami Hat and get out that Crystal Ball.

Posted by: dre7861 | June 9, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The supreme irony of all the union bashing going on in the United States is that unions and the workers rights movements are gaining strength in China. Honda just settled a very serious strike at its most important parts plant in China by workers there who were striking for much higher wages.

We all seem to forget the original reason unions formed in teh first place. Workers were horrendously mistreated and exploited by tehir employers, and had very little political or social clout to combat these abuses.

We have a shorter work week, OSHA, child labor laws, ERISA, and health insurance through our employer because unions foiught like hell for those things. And all of the folks in right to work states benefit from the wages and benefits negotiated by their counterparts in unionized states. They are free riders on the hard work and sacrifice unions had done for decades.

Like all longstanding institutions, however, unions are in desperate need of reform.

But the mission of Unions is still just and woirthwhile.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

yes, a country boy (and blue dog democrats) can survive...

Hey, maybe the SEIU, the AFofL/CIO, Teamsters and the like can go to China and organize them and try to influence elections there instead...I hear their just dying for representation…


Posted by: sosueme1 | June 9, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The end game for this is that Obama is soon to experience a real loose in friends and supporters.
As with the premise of Obama's election i.e. change the way government works the fact is that has not worked. Americans are looking to get their Country back.

Posted by: KBlit | June 9, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

While Lincoln's politics don't match the "ideal" Democrat for some, the fact is Arkansas is a right wing state that went heavily to McCain. We're not going to get a lefty Senator out of that state. MoveOn and other groups fail to grasp the political reality when they push for their ideals. This is a perfect case of that. The Democrats end stronger for having elected a moderate while the GOP implodes in Kentucky and Nevada pushing way to far right with the Tea Party. Come join us in ridiculing the GOP at GOPHypocrisy on Facebook!

Posted by: gophypocrisy | June 9, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Nikki Haley has a long time to sweat before the general election for some real evidence of her alleged affairs to surface.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 9, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

If you analyze where Obama is unpopular -- most of his poll drop comes in the South. he is actually at or above 50% in every other region of the country. So, the national polls are deeceptive. Harry reid is probably going to win reelection. Barbara Boxer is probably going to win reelection. Democratic incumbants in sttates outside the South have reasonable to good chances of winning reelection. The exception being North dakota which even in 2008 was a very conservative state. But ND doesn't have much effect on the national poills like Texas does.

Also, Florida will be interesting. The GOP probably squandered a great chance to pick up a seat by driving Charlie Crist into running as an independent who is likely to caucus with the Democrats. And, the Democrats screwed up when they stupidly backed Blanche Lincoln over Halter. They made the same stupid mistake by not backing Ned Lamont full tilt after he won the primary in 2006. Instead, they got Joe Lieberman back -- who then proceeded to andorse John McCain for President and has been a thorn in the Democrats side ever since. Blanche LIncoln will be the Democrats worst nightmare if she manages to somehow pull off an upset in November.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse


"we don't have sweatshops any more in this country"

Not true. I agree with everything you said about unions, they are their own worst enemy, public employee unions in particular.

But illegal labor environments are all around us. Examples in the food industry abound, But I just saw perhaps another example. Recently I was wandering South of Market, marveling at the desolation, the homeless mentally ill by the dozens, when through an open door in a warehouse, I spied a great space crammed with perhaps 100 Asian women and girls (perhaps as young as 10) hunched over sewing machines, piece work stacked on either side of each station. Everyone was working furiously, no one looked up. It was so dimply lit, I tried to figure out what exactly they were assembling when suddenly a small man slammed the door in my face as he yelled, "Get out!"

Illegal labor exploitation is a scourge, a vile crime and it is at least as damaging to our country's economy as the unions and as are the robber barons.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 9, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

We Arkansans didn't vote FOR Lincoln. We voted AGAINST unions and We were sending a messages for the unions and to stay out of our state. You're not wanted in Arkansas!! Lincoln won't win in November.

Posted by: georges2 | June 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Also, I'm guessing that Mark Critz, Bill Owens, and Scott Murphy all ran to the right of Tim Burns, Doug Hoffman, and Jim Tedisco. Why won't the WaPo report this?????

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats deserve the beating they will get in November. They have completely squandered their majority and acted like scared rabbits instead of leaders. They should pay a price in the polls. Mostly because base Democrats are fed up with their cowardice and will not show up to vote for these bums.

The GOP and conservatives are going to turn out and vote for you anyway no matter what you do. Why these fools would decide to try and cave into the unreasonable wackos on the right is a complete mystery. they should be telling them to go F themselves and moving further to the populist left to energize tehir base voters in order to match the enthusiasm of the other side. Indpenedents are weather vanes. They go with whoever seems to be stronger and more gutsy.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Nikki Haley is now (pardon the comparison) the Barrack Obama of Republican politics in South Carolina."

I must have missed the part of tye 2008 election where two well-known Democratic loyalists publicly claimed they had affairs with Obama.

I'm not counting that crazy dude who said he had a gay affair with Obama in a limo while snorting coke.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Nikki Haley is now (pardon the comparison) the Barrack Obama of Republican politics in South Carolina."

Gallenod, could you explain how this works?
I can't find any handle on this.

Posted by: shrink2 | June 9, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It is not at all shocking that in many cases the most rightwiung wacko candidate in a GOP primary election won it.

Lincoln is a special case because she would have been a goner had Bill Clinton not rode to her rescue at the last minute.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I'm not sure how pitcher workload is currently measured, but a big criticism of the handling of Wood and Prior were the pitch counts. The two of them were routinely allowed to rack up 110, 120. Strasberg had 94 pitches. I don't know how his age and frame fits into this, but I don't think 94 is considered a heavy load. Then again, when you're throwing in triple digits, it might be. I'm not really up to date on the science of pitcher abuse. I read about it a lot in college, but not so much nowdays.

I knew that Riggleman was a former Cubs manager, but I didn't know he coincided with Wood. So I don't know how he'll manage Strasberg, but I think the baseball world is quite a bit more enlightened with regards to pitch counts than it was ten years ago.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

One more thing. Had Bill Clinton not gone full bore into the runoff to save Blanche LIncoln's bacon -- she would have lost. probably badly. She won solely because Bill Clinton, the most popular and connected Democrat in that state pushed hard for her. That's it.

It was not her as a candidate that did it. It was not because people olike her, or think she's doing a good job, or that she's been an effective senator. It was Bill Clinton. Any analysis beyond that is silly.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I do not think it is so much anti-incumbent, such as Lincoln has proven, as it is anti same old same old. While her voting record in mixed, she did stand against Obama on healthcare and this helped her with her right leaning supporters.

the following is not off topic - it speaks to how the Democrats in Texas will never change which is why they will loose every statewide election - again - this is what has the people upset all over the country. What I write and document is just a visual of reality when it comes to corruption and contempt for the voter. In South Texas since they cannot control how the voters vote the Democrats just steal the ballots from senior citizens and vote for them.

Here in South Texas I know of no one who will vote Democrat in November - they just will not vote - Dem White for Governor has lost South Texas because he made it clear he will stand with every corrupt Democrat in South Texas.

The Democrats have contolled South Texas by stealing elections. Women known as politiqueras harvest the mail-ballots of seniors and steal the elections.

Last week a corrupt Democratic judge stopped a trial before all the witnesses could testify because the truth was coming out in witness after witness. The first witness testified that the politiquera took his ballot and voted it for him. There will be no criminal investigation - just another stolen election.

This is what the people are rebelling against.

In part one the first voter witness is Ricardo Liceaga. If you look to the top of the document you should be able to figure out how to fast forward to page 73.

Posted by: bobbywc | June 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Whoever ran to the right of the incumbent won. *cough* *cough* Blanche Lincoln *cough* cough* Meg Whitman *cough* *cough* That is the news story you Wapo hacks fail to report. *cough* *cough* I couldn't be bothered to read the results. *cough* *cough*

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 9, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD3 | June 9, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Also, the unions that spent money in Arkansas didn't waste a penny. Arguably, they scared Lincoln and the Democrats in Coingress to beef up the financial reform bill, if nothing else.

What scared the conservadems and the Dem establishment the most about a Halter victory was not that he would lose in November. Blanche LIncoln might as well start cleaning out her Senate office right now.

Their actual fear was that he would win in the general election. And, if he did, it would be katy Bar The Door in Democratic priimaries for the next few election cycles. Every rigthtwing, corporate Democrats that cares more about Goldman Sacks and BP than actual voters would be at serious risk for getting walloped and thrown out of office. And, even the liberal Democratic leadership in Congress would stop paying attention to the Blue Dogs who have basically comitted suicide with their recessionary obsession with budget defecits instead of creating jobs.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Lincoln polls worse in the general election vs the GOP nominee than Bill Halter did. She is probably a guaranteed goner unless she and the Dem establishment come begging on their hands and knees for support from organized labor and the progressive movment. Otherwise, she's going to get zero institutional or grass roots support and will surely lose.

The folks celebrating her victory today in the Democratic party are exactly the reason why the Democratic party is in trouble this year. They don't get it. Instead of doing what he promised during the 2008 election, President Obama has done nothing bt tack toward the right in issue after issue. And, despite this, we have other members of this newspaper cal;ling him with a straight face the most liberal President in American history. Whhat a joke. Barack Obama is less liberal than George Herbert Walker Bush. He's less liberal, in many ways, that even Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton, even, came into office pledging to allow gays to serve openly in the military, to raise taxes and pushed a health care plan that was far more ambitious and ionvolved more government involvement than anything Obama proposed.

The claim that Obama is acting like a liberal is a colossal joke. The reason democrats are in trouble is not becaus ethey are too far to the left. Its because they aren't. Had they done what they should have been doing, the unemployment rate would not be stalling out at 10%. The stimulus would have been $250 billion bigger and we would not be worrying about a double dip recession. The health care bill would have had a POPULAR public option in it and would have mitigated any concerns about a health care mandate. We would not be escalating our war in Afghanistan, and we would not be pushing more offshore drilling. Its a complete joke. And it will be a good thing when Blanche Llincoln is broomed from the Senate. But, of course, liberals will take the blame for it. Even though we were the ones trying to save the party from defeat by supporting Halter.

Posted by: Hesiod_2k | June 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Another addendum: Orly Taitz will not be the R nominee for CA SOS.

I am heartened by that news.
Ddawd and Mnteng - keep count of the kid's innings. He should not have more than 6 per week until his body finishes maturing. A burly guy like Clemens can throw more innings, younger, than a lean guy like this kid or Gooden. But six innings a week is a good rule of thumb maximum. I note he was left in for seven, which to me is a bad sign.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Mainstream Americans are squarely in the center, maybe just a little bit left or right. Mainstream Americans are trying to hold their own in life and are more focused on their jobs and families. Mainstream Americans do have one thing that trumps the the fringe of the left and the right and it is our vote and we are d@mned tired of the fringe of both parties making our lives tougher to fulfill their political ideals.

For SEIU membership - you need to thump your union bosses for wasting your mandatory dues. I mean, come on, some of your members already have the experience of thumping a black man, and knocking a disabled lady from a wheelchair, in St Louis.

Posted by: zendrell | June 9, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

1. Lincoln winning does not surprise me, as the candidate who was eliminated from the runoff in the original primary was to the right of Lincoln and she likely picked up at least half his supporters who voted yesterday. I would be interested in hearing a comparison between Lincoln and the two Dems who won the House primaries (Causey & Elliot) as to where they stand relative to her or Halter's positions.

2. Nikki Haley is now (pardon the comparison) the Barrack Obama of Republican politics in South Carolina. Barring some dramatic revalation, she will cruise in the runoff and crush whatever Dem she runs against in November. She will the spend much of her tenure trying to tame the Good Old Boy network that currently dominates South Carolina politics (in much the same way that senior Dems in Congress are more of a problem for Obama than the Republicans).

3. More R nominees from farther Right. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in November.

4. Small potato. If Lincoln runs strong, the D's could hold this. If she's crushed by Boozman, then this seat goes R.

5. If Byrne is smart he'll just sit on the sidelines in the recount fight and try to look gubernatorial while the other two behave like mutts fighting over table scraps. Bently and James can only hurt each other.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

might as well call her Blanche Clinton

I wonder if Chris got any sleep !!!


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | June 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Before all the Ds start chortling that Blanche proves the anti-incumbent winds won't blow them of course just yet there is, of course, a general election to be held. Moreover, Arkansas is a pretty conservative place and has many conservatives in the D party still. So, what this might really mean is that liberals/unions (Halter) are less popular than incumbents like Lincoln in Arkansas. In other words, Nancy bar the door, the conservatives are coming, the conservatives are coming.

Posted by: lovinliberty | June 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The fix was indeed in for Lincoln

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | June 9, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The fix was indeed in for Lincoln

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | June 9, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

arkansas is a right-to-work state. what were the national labor unions thinking?

their stupidity in going all-out to bring down a moderate democrat in a centrist-to-conservative southern state should cause ALL of their membership to question the intelligence of those at the top of their labor union(s). especially in today's economy, labor union rank-and-file should question how their political arm is spending their union dues.

we don't have sweatshops any more in this country. the only 'sweatshops' remaining are the big law firms that use young associates to pump up billables. they chew young associates up and spit them out like sunflower seed shells. law firm associates work insane hours under horrible pressure and THEY don't unionize.

meanwhile, labor unions have driven most manufacturing jobs offshore. now they want to be allowed to appear on your doorstep, mafia-style, and demand that you check a card to accept union membership (and the payroll deductions that come with it).

maybe, as more and more political mavericks (who distance themselves from special interest groups) become elected to public office, labor unions will be viewed differencly in this nation. they will be the last to admit it, but maybe they really have outlived their usefulness... at the very least, they're going to have to start to justify what they actually DO do for their members.

Posted by: potomacfever00 | June 9, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

DDAWD writes:
"Let's hope that Riggleman can show some restraint with pitch counts so that he doesn't go the way of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior."

You mean, the Jim Riggleman who was the manager of the Cubs in 1998 during Wood's rookie year? Good luck with that one. But, at least he isn't Dusty Baker.

Posted by: mnteng | June 9, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

why aren't people pointing out that Halter has only been back in Arkansas for a few years-- after a 20+ year absence.
The boy is almost a carpetbagger.

Posted by: newagent99 | June 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I was furious at Lincoln, first over her stance on health care reform and then even more over her ads running against the Democratic party, sneering at it, suggesting that progressive values were something to take a principled stance against. But then -- scared shirtless -- she took a strong stand for the regulation of derivatives and stuck to it, and the party she derides seemed to support her. By some accounts the Democratic Senators were doing so only to help her in her primary, but if that's true they were even more likely to gut the legislation if Halter beat her. So I already had mixed feelings. Then I started reading some disturbing things about Halter, and it was looking as if he might turn out to be just as ungrateful to union households as Lincoln was. So all in all I'm not devastated, even though I did give Halter some money and did support him till the end. What's more, in turning back a strong tide Lincoln looks stronger now as a general election candidate. Conventional wisdom suggests she'll have more momentum in the general election. Republicans had better not be too sanguine about taking that seat.

Posted by: ducdebrabant | June 9, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I want to point out that the people here who are claiming unfair voting in Arkansas never comment on here. That is usually a sign of this being linked to Drudge or Kos or something. Until I see a real media source comment on any voter fraud I am going to ignore those claims.

Posted by: AndyR3 | June 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The only thing Lincoln's victory proves is that the only thing that voters loathe more than incumbents are nasty obots. 2012 can't come soon enough...

Posted by: garychapelhill | June 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

well, of course lincoln won. easy to do when you disenfranchise a county likely to vote against you. it's a well-established tactic in american politics -- see how well lincoln has learned from the republicans.

Posted by: mycomment | June 9, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Covert government "programs" subvert the political process -- and democracy.

URGENT TO WH staff; A.G. Eric Holder; Tom Perez, deputy A.G. for civil rights; Obama cabinet; members of Congress:

Who are the "dissidents" targeted for silent microwave torture and impairment? Some of your constituents -- and maybe some of you.


• "Dissidents" and "undesirables" also targeted by multi-agency program for financial sabotage; community-based, police-protected, GPS-enabled vigilante stalking and harassment; ideology-driven censorship -- a genocidal purge.

All of those cell towers you see all over America are NOT all for phone calls.

Some of them are TORTURE TOWERS -- part of a nationwide microwave/laser radio frequency "directed energy weapon" system that is being used by operatives of the multi-agency Homeland Security-run "fusion center" network to silently torture, impair, and physically and neurologically degrade the functioning and well-being of extrajudicially, unjustly '"targeted" citizens...

And apparently, this precision-targeted domestic weapon system being used to attack and harm U.S. citizens has been deployed WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF CONGRESS or high state officials.



BUCKS COUNTY, PA: "Mid-Atlantic States (including D.C.) Centcom of a Fusion Center Gestapo."


Posted by: scrivener50 | June 9, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

At first, Lincoln drew my ire when she turned against the "public option", however, she saw something I didn't - a deep distrust of government beaurocracy that potentially destroys progressive goals. I was elated to see Health Reform pass - with her backing. And the tide is turning:

Americans are confused and conflicted, polls show, about “Obamacare”. Recent polls show that a majority want to “gamble” and just give it a chance. News junkies like me know that there are many conflicting news reports and opinion pieces – mostly written by those pushing a political agenda. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just find a trusted, non-partisan research group that would study the darn thing and give us some straight answers we could believe in?
Well, this morning my dream came true. News I have been waiting for. One of the country’s most respected think-tanks, the RAND Corporation ( ), has just completed an exhaustive study of 2000+ health reform policy scenarios. The conclusion (drum roll please):
“The new U.S. health care reform law was the best option for providing health insurance to the largest number of people while keeping federal government costs as low as possible.”

Posted by: truthseeker13 | June 9, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," a senior White House official said.
Politico-referring to Ms. Lincoln's win.

I love it when union scum (that would be you SEIU) throw away their money!

Posted by: Azarkhan | June 9, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the Capone machine of corruption was on station in Arkansas.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 9, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

She will be easily defeated this fall. Meh.

Posted by: Smarg | June 9, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Arkansas voters filed a lawsuit last night against the Garland County Election Commission.

The lawsuit states that the commission intentionally scheduled only two polling sites for "the purpose of
disenfranchising " minority, elderly, poor and disabled voters in the county.

It also says that "the greater part of the voting electorate are unable to find or reach" the polling places and are "thereby deprived of their right to vote and were disenfranchised."

During the May 18 Primary, Garland County which Blanche Lincoln won overwhelmingly 6 years ago provided 42 polling locations.

On May 18, Lt. Gov. Halter won the county overwhelmingly.

On June 6, Garland County Election Commission Chairman Charles Tapp decided to arbitrarily close 40 of the 42 polling places in the county. The closure meant that voters would have to drive as much as 20 miles to register their votes.

Blanche Lincoln "won" the Primary because 80,000 residents of Garland County, Arkansas were denied the right to self-governance by an Establishment Democrat who supported Lincoln's candidacy.

Posted by: lrobby1 | June 9, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

America ain't that stupid - slow learner maybe, but not stupid.

Quite wrong. We elected obungler but it took less than a year to discover the folly.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 9, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how to gauge the prospects for Dems for the Ark. Senate seat. Lincoln is the more moderate one and the incumbent, so that would possibly be points in her favor. However, Halter was performing better in general election polls. (I wonder how reliable these polls are before the nominations are locked up). He's probably not a huge unknown in Arkansas, but definitely isn't suffering from the negative sentiment people have towards Lincoln. At this point, I'd have to say it's a long shot for this seat to stay blue. But perhaps Clinton can work his magic again.

For Haley, I'm glad that the baseless innuendo and rumor mongering did not derail her candidacy. I think we're all better off if when swift-boating does not work no matter D or R.

Not sure why the Nevada primary doesn't warrant a mention here. I'm guessing it means the GOP establishment isn't too happy about this. But then again, I'm not sure which one of the three really could have been considered a good candidate. I guess Tarkanian. It'll still be a tough battle for Reid, but I think this look a lot better than the situation in Arkansas. The tea party popularity is sinking like a rock.

And how about that new Nats pitcher? 14 strikeouts on his debut. Let's hope that Riggleman can show some restraint with pitch counts so that he doesn't go the way of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 9, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I heard that a number of polling places [38 in one county] were closed at the last minute and that some people had to drive a half an hour and wait an hour to vote. Someone needs to investigate this. It stinks.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | June 9, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

So even democrats don't want liberals any more. Instead they picked the most right candidates offered, just like everyone did. If that is not an Obungler correction, the press won't see it until messiah is thrown out.

Blanche is 20 points down and dingy Harry is 8 points down. All is going according to plan.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 9, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Lincoln won with voter mechanics, like a card mechanic, at the polling booth or lack of polling places to be precise. The comforting notion about Lincoln is she will not be a senator in 2011. And the DNC can forget about any support from this Democrat.

Posted by: MikeQ2 | June 9, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

The Arkansas race smells rotten. I believe Blanche Lincoln lost this election. (thank you Epluribusunum for raising the polling place issue--our typically wimpy mainstream journalists have avoided this topic)

Serious investigative journalism will probably uncover a slew of unfair and possibly illegal tactics used by the Lincoln (Clinton) machine to ensure results.

In short, Lincoln cheated her way to a reelection.

(My fellow Republican voters who happen to live in Lincoln's state should raise THIS as an issue this fall!)

As a Progressive, I do hope that other Democratic races in other states this fall do not play to a mushy middle. We win big when we head leftwards--historical election results show this: Wilson in 12 and more so in 16, FDR in 32 and 36, Johnson in 64. (You could also say this was true for Teddy Roosevelt) (Note--it doesn't happen that often--the DNC is run by a bunch of political sissies) Democrats are taking stupid chances when they try to capture moderate conservatives.

Posted by: theodorebrown | June 9, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Two posters have claimed foul play in an AR county.

True or not, there is not much in the way of a trend one can find in a narrow victory. Pundits seem to overplay the small hand dealt, again and again, when ultimately someone survives the process.

Survival does not typically portend trend. It announces the dominance of mere chance, in most cases. And sometimes it causes a focus on foul play.

In the LBJ vs. Coke Stevenson primary, 62 years ago, both sides had so much dirty dealing in different strongholds of theirs around the state that that the TX Supremes had to give up on ruling on challenges noting that neither side could claim equity because neither side had clean hands. Did that 1948 Senatorial primary portend the 1965 Great Society? Of course not. But mere chance and mere skullduggery do have consequences. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Or, her win exposes this bogus media search for conflict.

Conflict sells. The media has done their best to inflate this tbagger joke in making a ruse for their profits.

America ain't that stupid - slow learner maybe, but not stupid.

Posted by: mmax | June 9, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that there is no more outrage over the manipulation of voters by the Garland County Election Commission than there is. A County wherein Halter had done very well arbitrarily reduces the polling places from 42 to 2 in the run off to quell the Halter vote obviously, and arbitrarily changes early vote parameters STINKS! It smacks of the very worst allegations in the Florida 2000 race and of Ohio in the 2004 race. BUT these were Democrats doing it to fellow Democrats. Anti American, Anti Democratic, the shameful tactics of a third world banana republic or a Mid Eastern Iraqi style corrupt election. Shame, Shame, Shame, on them all and on Cillizza for not factoring it in the reasons for Lincoln's "victory".
The come back kid be damned, more like the Fix Is In Kid

Posted by: EPluribusUnum3 | June 9, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

In a fairly complete and unbiased analysis, I'm surprised to find the following issue missing.

Admittedly, the issue is raised by an "interested party," one of the groups supporting Halter. I hope we can all agree that the charges should be examined for merit, and then judged on their merit, all the same. This is from an e-mail sent out by "BoldProgressives."

"A new Research 2000 poll shows Bill Halter leading Blanche Lincoln 49% to 45%. But now, a major local election official is making it harder for Bill Halter's supporters to vote.

Garland County is the most populous county Bill Halter won 3 weeks ago, and could be key to his run-off victory this Tuesday. But election commissioner Charles Tapp reduced the number of polling places from 42 to 2.

Also, after personally promising Bill Halter there would be early voting this weekend, Tapp reversed course. Hundreds of voters showed up to vote yesterday but were denied."

They point out that in fairly rural setting, getting from your regular polling place to one that's several valleys over (with or without a direct road) is not trivial.

Posted by: JFS_in_PA | June 9, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

All I've heard today is how so and so won and it was a night for women. I haven't heard anything about how the so-called political pundits got it ALL wrong. Lincoln was going to loose; anti-Washington and Pres. Obama backlash, etc., etc. - no comments on any of that.

Posted by: jlr6111 | June 9, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Blanche is done. She may have one the primary but she lost us the war, undermining real Democrats in the process.

This country is divided. Tea Party/Moderate Republicans and Moderate Democrats/Progressives.

We need 4 parties and a Parliamentary style Congress.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | June 9, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I would be interested in knowing who can vote in Arkansas primaries. Virginia, for instance, has open primaries, in which any registered voter can cast a ballot in any party primary in his/her district. In the last gubernatorial election, a Republican turnout and primary vote gave Democrats the weakest candidate for governor, and he was subsequently beaten in the general. Did the same thing happen here? What are the rules in Arkansas?

Posted by: kstack | June 9, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

CC,AB,FS: thanks for the review. Mixed bag, big turnouts in some places, big bucks in some as well. Let me add to your list the incumbent wins in CA - from the AP:

Incumbents leading in Calif. congressional races

By KEVIN FREKING Associated Press Writer
Posted: 06/09/2010 12:24:59 AM PDT
Updated: 06/09/2010 12:25:00 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES—Who said California voters were in an anti-incumbent mood? All of the House lawmakers seeking re-election this year were winning their primary races Tuesday night.
That list included Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice, who was facing a challenge from the left in Marcy Winograd and Rep. Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar, whose chief opponent, accountant Phil Liberatore, had put nearly $500,000 of his own money into the race.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 9, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand how the Liberal Mind calls 2008 a re-alignment. America had the worst president ever in the White House and the biggest financial debacle ever too. From this Liberals gain license to conduct a Sherman's March through the Deep South? (As much license as Sherman had I guess.)

Posted by: blasmaic | June 9, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

#1-I would bet that Boozman is not a happy camper today. Lincoln now has the wind at her back and will get at least a few days of great press about how she fought of a challenge from the liberals. She can now grab the moderate mantle and start painting Boozman as an out of touch conservative who is going to vote with the Tea-Party etc. Plus voters like to vote for winners, which gives Lincoln another edge. One thing she will have to address is getting Halter's supporters to back her in the general.

#2-Nikki Haley seems to have weathered this storm and should be safe unless one of these men actually comes out with real proof of their allegations, which doesnt' seem likely at this point. Also I am sure that the Haley campaign knows that the Democrats in SC are looking deep into this, and if they have proof they may wait until after the run-off to put it out there.

#3-Ingles would have won his seat in a walk. By taking him out the GOP has created another seat that could go to the Democrats where there wasn't one yesterday. Same goes for the Angle victory in Nevada. The GOP could have creamed Reid, and now he is going to win relection with a 5% margin.

Posted by: AndyR3 | June 9, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Cillizza we realize you are just a WaPo hack in bed with Barry, and will never play the story straight if it involves a Dim. That much is self-evident.

Whoever ran to the left of an incumbent, lost. Whoever ran to the right of the incumbent won. That is the news story you Wapo hacks fail to report.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 9, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

This is good. Lincoln is a slug and should be easy to beat.

Posted by: nychap44 | June 9, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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