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Liberals see opportunity in Bill Halter's bid in Arkansas Senate

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's decision Monday to challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the state's May primary is being touted by liberal Democrats as a watershed moment as they seek to express their displeasure with how the party has conducted itself over the past year.

In the immediate aftermath of Halter's announcement, a quartet of liberal interest groups -- the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, Moveon.org and the Daily Kos blog -- pledged to raise Halter $500,000 in the first week of his candidacy to show support and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Kos blog, said he planned to poll in the state next week to see where Halter stood in the contest. They raised their goal to $1 million on Tuesday after raising over $800,000.

"I think it's safe to say that with overwhelming Democratic majorities, progressives expected more than the train wreck we've gotten," said Steve Hildebrand, a Democratic strategist who played a significant role in President Obama's campaign in 2008.

For Lincoln, Halter's candidacy is a further complication in a re-election bid that has been badly imperiled by the ongoing fight over whether -- and how -- to reform the health care system. Lincoln's opposition to including the so-called "public option" in the Senate bill inflamed liberals while her vote for final passage of the legislation stoked anger among Republicans.

"I know that I am the target of both political extremes but that's what makes this campaign so important to all of us," Lincoln said in response to Halter's decision. "This Senate seat belongs to Arkansas, not to outside groups that are angry I don't answer to them."

But, Lincoln's inability to deflect the incoming barbs from her ideological left and right has hamstrung her as she seeks a third term this fall. A series of recent polls have shown Lincoln trailing a little-known Republican field led by Rep. John Boozman and potentially vulnerable to a challenge from within her own party.

Halter, first elected to the lieutenant governor's job in 2006, had publicly mulled a run against Lincoln for months before officially jumping in on Monday. In a video announcing his plans, Halter seemed to offer a critique not just of the Democratic incumbent but also of the Obama Administration. "Washington is broken," Halter said. "Bailing out Wall Street with no strings attached...protecting insurance company profits instead of patients."

In casting himself in opposition to Democratic-controlled Washington, Halter echoed the message employed by Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) in his special election victory last month -- seeking to tap into the widespread anger in the electorate about Washington's failure to listen to the concerns of average voters. Democratic primary candidates against Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) are employing similar rhetoric as they seek to unseat incumbents later this year.

But, it's Halter's candidacy that appears to have energized liberal Democrats who have grown increasingly disdainful of their party in Washington.

"Blanche Lincoln is symbolic of everything that has gone wrong with Washington in the last year," said Moulitsas. "Given that she's the only one of her crowd up for re-election this year, I look forward to making an example out of her."

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 2, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

We have a 3 Trillion Dollar - basically unfunded program - which the democrats are attempting to FORCE A FINANCIAL CRISIS ONTO A FUTURE CONGRESS IN ORDER TO RAISE THE TAXES TO PAY FOR HEALTH CARE.


When the American People realize fully what the finances are, Obama's name and legacy will be synonymous with overspending and financial nightmares.


To spend and never know how it will be payed for - to obama.


To get stuck with a bill - to get obamaed.


To force a program or a rule on an unwilling person - to ram an obama

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Halter not only echoed Scott Brown's message, in his video introduction he's got the truck too. Centerfold to follow? Will the real Bill Halter please stand up?

Posted by: Kelly14 | March 3, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

That internal contradiction is a key (one key) to understanding the tea party movement.

==

irrelevant. "they're crazy" covers it (r = 1.0)

Posted by: Noacoler | March 3, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat it pains me to say this, but I predict Halter will be this year's Ned Lamont - someone who makes liberals feel good when he wins the primary, but who has no hope of being elected.

Posted by: jaypem | March 2, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

shrink2


That internal contradiction is a key (one key) to understanding the tea party movement.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Silly Data Point

An hour or so ago (I was driving) on his radio "show" Michael Savage said Bill OReilly is "a pimp for the Republican Party" and that true Conservatives would never talk of Republicans taking back The House as a good thing for this country.

Politics are amazing.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cillizza writes, "Halter echoed the message employed by Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) in his special election victory last month..."


I would like to say that Bill Halter is no Scott Brown! Besides, he would have to pose for Cosmo before I would ever consider voting for him.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 2, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Good historic points, Leichtman. I also agree with your assessment of "liberals" in Arkansas. Kamikaze Ds is what they are.
Kamikaze Ds have forgotten already that Dean and Shumer worked to get the Ds out of their bicoastal cocoon to become once again a competitive party in the border and mountain states. Kamikazes do not want the compromises that come with being a big tent party. The "Daily Kos" crowd and the TEA people may give us two shriveled parties that become irrelevant in the flood of "Citizens United" cash.

A moderate party or a centrist party has no real means to develop, if neither TR's personal popularity nor Perot's cash could make it happen. So I find it difficult to predict what comes next, as the Ds and the Rs implode over the next decade.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 2, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

jake yesterday told us he was absolutely certain Rs would take over Congress in Nov. I wouldn't rush to that conclusion after this latest McClatchy poll:

"according to a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll.

Yet the anger and frustration with Washington aren't directed solely at either party and don't automatically add up to a tidal wave against the governing Democrats in this year's elections for control of Congress, the poll suggested"

"In fact, Americans tilt slightly against Republicans as to which party they blame more. They also give a 10-point edge to Democrats when they're asked which party they'd vote for if the congressional elections were today."

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

there were strange things happening when this 2003 vote was being taken:

"The bill was debated and negotiated for nearly six years in Congress, and finally passed amid unusual circumstances. Several times in the legislative process the bill had appeared to have failed, but each time was saved when a couple of Congressmen and Senators switched positions on the bill.

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives early on June 25, 2003 as H.R. 1, sponsored by Speaker Dennis Hastert. All that day and the next the bill was debated, and it was apparent that the bill would be very divisive. In the early morning of June 27, a floor vote was taken. After the initial electronic vote, the count stood at 214 yeas, 218 nays.

Three Republican representatives then changed their votes. One opponent of the bill, Ernest J. Istook, Jr. (R-OK-5), changed his vote to "present" upon being told that C.W. Bill Young (R-FL-10), who was absent due to a death in the family, would have voted "aye" if he had been present. Next, Republicans Butch Otter (ID-1) and Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8) switched their vote to "aye" under pressure from the party leadership. The bill passed by one vote, 216-215."

pressure from party leadership, sound familiar since Rs think only Ds use pressure to win votes.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

never said they were unsound criticism although I bet anything if anyone were to examine the Medicare Part D vote that was controversial at the time with Rs that McConnel and Boehner made similar deals to win waivering R Senate votes. Curious why no one has asked to reopen that vote that DeLay kept open for an unbelievable 6 hours and see what deals they cut to get it passed with waivering R Senators. Ben Nelson was a jerk to demand that concession and should understand ts controversy; Landrieu has legitimite reasons for her concession b/c of the Louisiana's charity system and problems with Medicaid; and I truly doubt Bill Nelson will oppose the HC bill, regardless.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, one can be for universal health care but still see that the compromises that excepted medicaid in NB and FL were corrupt. Walking back those compromises can be seen as budgetary and can be done by reconciliation, losing two senate votes in the process, of course. That Rs suggested those points does not make them unsound.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 2, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Supremacy Clause is neither liberal or conservative; it is the basis of the US Constitution. Article 6 Clause 2 is fundamental try reading it.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

That is the demographic that is being left behind...

Posted by: Geopolitics101
--------------------------------------
That is the demographic that is..a behind.

Posted by: leapin | March 2, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse


Let me get this straight:


The liberal position is this: the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th amendments DO APPLY TO THE STATES.


The 2nd Amendment APPLIES ONLY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.


The 10th Amendment APPLIES TO NO ONE.


Is that the correct position of the liberals ???

Posted by: 37thand0street
----------------------------------------

Whatever allows corporate takeovers and forced consumer purchases. What numbers apply?

Posted by: leapin | March 2, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm telling you... nominating a true liberal against a DINO or true conservative is the way to go. Any analysis of Virginia, New Jersey or even Massachusetts shows that liberal Democrats can not get excited or turn out for a warmed over Democrat trying to appeal to moderates. Give us an Obama type liberal against a McRunt and we will vote and volunteer to make phone calls. That is the demographic that is being left behind...

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | March 2, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight:


The liberal position is this: the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th amendments DO APPLY TO THE STATES.


The 2nd Amendment APPLIES ONLY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.


The 10th Amendment APPLIES TO NO ONE.


Is that the correct position of the liberals ???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 2, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

For a guy who's never been any further from his trailer than the 7-11 leapin sure thinks he knows a lit about Europe.


Posted by: Noacoler
-------------------------------------------
My "trailer"

http://www.newellcoach.com/inventoryDetail.php?coach=1411


Posted by: leapin | March 2, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

For a guy who's never been any further from his trailer than the 7-11 leapin sure thinks he knows a lit about Europe.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 2, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

why don't you bother to actually read the Constitution and specifically Article 6 Clause 2 which you obviously have no understanding of.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey we can change July 4th to DEPENDENCE DAY!!!!
Obama and libs fail to see the irony that only an exceptionally free and proud America could have provided the military umbrella necessary to Europe’s development into an essentially disarmed socialist society, one dependent militarily and economically on the U.S. largely because we are so unlike Europe.
Obama also fails to see that American exceptionalism resulted in a degree of freedom and affluence for millions impossible elsewhere, which in turned fueled his own romantic idea of utopianism. Because America was so rich and leisured, an Obama could indulge in criticizing it for not being consistently perfect.
Regarding Obama’s distancing himself from American traditions, he is a paradox since his own success would be impossible in Europe or in Africa or Asia, and yet even in his privilege he sees himself as often antithetical to the very conditions that made him.

A question remains- Much of Obama’s comfortable leftism is a product of careerism; for a prep-school kid who went to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard and ended up in Chicago, his chic redistributive and radical ideas were sort of like medieval churchmen wearing crosses, it was part of entry into the club.
So it is hard for Obama to question an orthodoxy that for him was amazingly lucrative and opportune in careerist terms. Without a race-class-gender grievance mindset, and without a fault-America-first worldview, Obama would never have risen so far so fast in the circles he navigated. His only challenge now is to disguise and manipulate before an edgy public the thoughts, associations, and assumptions that have been second nature to him for 30 years but which are proving to be an anathema to the American people. He is our first president to be entirely unfamiliar with the productive classes of the private sector, without experience in anything much outside of universities and grievance politics. Consequently, he is increasingly bewildered that he can’t sway foreign heads of state and now the American public with the same old “hope and change” vacuity that so wowed Ivy League comrades.

Posted by: leapin | March 2, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Everyday is another 900 billion from obumbler. Yesterday education. Today insulation. Sunday it was dribbls unEployment. Will it ever stop.

Spend more is all messiah knows. Except reading from TelePrompTer of course.

Posted by: Moonbat | March 2, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Does Obama have a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the objections are - so he is unable to meet the Republicans in the middle ???"

as to his being stupid I am beginning to think he might be tone deaf if he thinks he can ever appease Rs. Somehow Rs have gotten it int their brain that 1. They didn't lose the WH in 2008 and 2. That their 41 votes in the US Senate should control the policy agenda. There is absolutely nothing that will ever satisfy that crowd other than adopting the HC plan that they never submitted to POTUS W, lock, stock and barrel as if they won the 2008 election. Enough already with trying to coddle R obstructionist. I don't recall one effort by conservatives to offer one concession during the debate over the $1.3 trillion dollar unpaid tax bill that we had rammed downour throats and as I recall Ds were literally locked out of committee hearings as opposed to the hundreds of open hearings attended by R Senators like Grassley and dozens of R provisions incorporated in the proposed HC bill. The middle? Obama has unilaterally walked away from the public option and Medicare expansion to appease the right and exactly how many R votes has that won him?

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be a great idea to amend the Bill of Rights to eliminate the right to keep and beat arms. All the true paranoid nutjobs would commit suicide-by-cop and get taken up on their cold dead fingers pledge.

Then once we'd cleaned the place up we could restore it and not only would guns only be in the hands of the sane, the national IQ would go up about twenty points.

Find some better way to compensate for your genital inadequacy, losers.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 2, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight:


The liberal position is this: the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th amendments DO APPLY TO THE STATES.


The 2nd Amendment APPLIES ONLY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.


The 10th Amendment APPLIES TO NO ONE.


Is that the correct position of the liberals ???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 2, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

And there we go again with the conceit over rugged independence, nostalgia for a time that never was when men were men and the government did nothing but customs.  Even militia were local affairs with shopkeepers taking off their aprons and picking up their blunderbusses.  StrokeStrokeStrokeStroke thinking about being an 18th century bearded patriarch defending hearth and home by his own mettle.  StrokeStrokeStrokeStroke.
 
What garbage.
 
This is the 21st century, life is a lot more complicated now and the independence of conservative fantasies is nothing more than a quick road to sloppy death.  We have laws for cars and airplanes, both conspicuously absent in the 1770s, we can’t feed ourselves by heading into the woods with a lunch gun anymore, and without that “dependence on government” does anyone think we’d live very long?  Like hell.  The corporations that conservatives grovel to would poison us for a little more “shareholder value.”  And since people need jobs to pay their own way (certain prolific posters obviously excepted) we “depend” on government to keep society functioning, to maintain the social safety nets that we are too numerous for charity to handle.
 
If you guys are so full of your conceit and think you’re so rugged an’ stuff why don’t you show the courage of your convictions and go live in Somalia.  Your kind of place.  No dependence on government, because there isn’t any.  You’ll live in squalor and die like dogs but you’ll be Free Men™.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 2, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

this is about the stupidist move I have seen from Progressives. A political purity test precisely the same practice that devistated Rs in 2008. As a supporter of Hillary during the primary this is precisely the garbage we were fed by progressive organizations. And as a progressive myself I can tell you that I am sick to death of hearing corporate bashing by these groups. Sorry Marcos but if Ds ever intend to win in the south again in my lifetime you need to understand that most of us Ds in the south don't agree with your corporate bashing. Please stay away from southern politics Marcos.

Posted by: leichtman1 | March 2, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Obama now wants to add 4 Republican ideas to his 2000 page bill - complete with massive government spending and massive new taxes.


Is this a complete joke???


Does Obama have a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the objections are - so he is unable to meet the Republicans in the middle ???


Or is he just stupid ???

Posted by: 37thand0street
-------------------------------------------

Pundits of both parties now fault Obama's style of governance. Public protests express disapproval over out-of-control federal spending and borrowing, and the idea of state-run healthcare.

So fairly or not, it seems like a panicked President Obama is abruptly scrambling to do what he should have done over a year ago.

But the problem is that a now jaded public believes that Obama is changing both course and tone not because he wants to for the country, but because he is forced to for his own survival.

In other words, the "hope and change" of last year's messiah has devolved into this year's "whatever it takes" of a cynic.

Posted by: leapin | March 2, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama now wants to add 4 Republican ideas to his 2000 page bill - complete with massive government spending and massive new taxes.


Is this a complete joke???

Does Obama have a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the objections are - so he is unable to meet the Republicans in the middle ???

Or is he just stupid ???

.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 2, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

dribbl. Obumbler. Peeloony

how old are you, "drivl?". I would guess around 12.

Now make some crack about sex with children. Don't let
me down by going all unpredictable all of a sudden.

Posted by: Noacoler | March 2, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

dribbl is nothing without her fellow stooges to applaud her idiocy.

Of course, "her" idiocy is never really her own.

Kind of like Obumbler.

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Democrat. 'Centrists' are often nothing but corporate shills

Posted by: drindl | March 2, 2010 3:24 PM


a shill. just like you.

Posted by: doof | March 2, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Welfare State: A major newspaper looks at the data and finds that Americans have become more dependent on government than at any time since the Depression. Something's gone terribly wrong in our country. We Americans pride ourselves on our independence. Our nation's founding document even uses that in its title — the Declaration of Independence. But this spirit is fading with each new year, each new state and federal program, each new unkeepable promise made to a growing throng of citizens looking to government — not their own abilities, savvy, learning and hard work— to get by in life.

Poor dribbl had her unemployment benefits cut off by Senator Paygo. It seems two years is not long enough for her to find a job. With the level of intellect involved, she will never find a job.

didn't you join the ranks of "unsaved job" right about the time Peloony took over the congress?

simple cause and effect old bat.

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

dribbl, having no brain and no ability for independent thought, must rely on her fight or flight animal instinct.

Liberals you see, have a very strict litmus test. their tent is the smallest in the circus. the voters are dissappearing in droves. they will be extinct like a dodo in a few years.

consider the stereotypes: Liberals can never tax too much or spend too much. repups can never cut taxes enough.

which is preferable?

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The desk in the Oval Office is officially known as “the Resolute desk.” It was made from the timbers from the H.M.S. Resolute, a British ship, and presented as a gift to the president of the United States. With its auspicious name, the desk is considered a metaphor, signaling that the president of the United States must have firm resolve, nerves of steel, with the courage to take difficult stands to boldly assert what is in the best interest of the American people.

An American president should sit proudly at that desk, not duck beneath it. But instead of giving us leadership, President Obama is hiding underneath “the Resolute desk.”

Our president should have the courage of his convictions. If he opposes the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms, he should just admit it. It’s sad that a president who never seems at a loss for words and can’t wait to get in front of a camera has nothing to say to the American people about a key provision in our Bill of Rights.

What is your position on McDonald v. Chicago, Mr. President?

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

barry votes NOT PRESENT:

Given that there are over 90 million gun owners in this country and thousands of gun control laws on the books—most of them state or local laws—McDonald is a monumental case.
So what is the position of the Obama administration? How can he oppose the rights of 90 million Americans, many of whom are blue collar union workers in swing states that he needs to win in 2012? To do so would also help drive Democrats into the minority in the 2010 midterm elections. On the other hand, how can he reverse his position of more than a decade in supporting Chicago’s absolute ban on firearms?

In this difficult situation, President Obama’s position is … Nothing.

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this isn't a pretty strategic opportunity to try something like this. Lincoln is pretty unpopular right now, so perhaps any other Democrat might have a better chance of winning than she does. Yeah, Arkansas is a Republican state, but Halter can run against her ties to the lobby industry. He can also run against the bailouts. These are things that will play well no matter what party you're from. And it's not like Arkansas is all that Democrat averse. Both Senators are Dems.

I don't typically like going after conservative Dems in conservative states via the primary because I think it's a losing proposition, but it might not be in this instance. Remember that these midterms rely heavily on exploiting the enthusiasm gap and having Halter instead of Lincoln will certainly help close that gap given that the latter is someone who no one really seems to be all that fired up about.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Just try to get into an elevator with Sen. Bunning - he will bite your head off !


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 2, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The point is, Andy, to try to impress upon Ms. Lincoln that she can't constantly vote against her party's interest and still consider herself a Democrat. 'Centrists' are often nothing but corporate shills to begin with -- it has nothing to do with 'moderation' -- it's a false equivalency.

You know when zouk agrees with you that you are playing right into rightwing frames.

Posted by: drindl | March 2, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Bravo andy. the liberal schism is not getting much play but there seems to be no room for moderates any longer. they booted Bayh and now Ford.

Arkansas is probably a foregone conclusion for its baseline nature - Repub in all respects.

Posted by: drivl | March 2, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Moulitsas is what is wrong in politics today. He has no interest in meeting anyone in the middle and thinks that his views and the views of his followers are the right way to do things no matter what. The problem is that he isn't that smart and most of his ideas are short sided and in many cases ill-conceived.

Blanch Lincoln is a good senator who is willing to try and work across the aisle, but isn't afraid to stick to her guns if she thinks it is the right thing to do. A public option would have hurt her state and she knew her constituents didn't want it. All because some punk in Connecticut doesn't like that shouldn't be (and apparently isn't) any concern to her.

Also as I said you can see how she will counter Halter's candidacy by playing the moderate card.
"I know that I am the target of both political extremes but that's what makes this campaign so important to all of us," Lincoln said in response to Halter's decision. "This Senate seat belongs to Arkansas, not to outside groups that are angry I don't answer to them."

And to Mr Mouliksas I look forward to Blanche making an 'example out of you' as being the impotent little whiny punk you are. If you want to change the system run for something yourself, otherwise go back to your computer and blog some more about how the country is going down the tubes, blah blah blah.
BTW, I am a liberal, so save your attacks that I just disagree with the guy. I can't stand his tactics of 'take down everyone who disagrees with me and mine'. We are supposed to be the party with a big tent and he doesn't get that.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 2, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

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