JONATHAN CHAIT APRIL 1, 2010
Blanche Lincoln has a new commercial on black-oriented radio stations touting the fact that she voted for health care reform. Ben Smith Jonathan Martin comments, "This will strike progressives and Obama allies as quite rich."
But why? Lincoln did vote for health care reform. It's true, as Smith points out, that she subsequently voted against the reconciliation measure, but that was a pure-face-saving measure, where Democrats could afford to lose nine votes. On the biggest issue in decades, Lincoln voted yes when a single Democratic defection would have killed the bill. That's pretty good considering that she hails from a state that's rapidly becoming solidly Republican.
I don't quite get why Lincoln is facing a primary challenger at all. I understand the general principle of fielding primary challengers to force Democrats to accept some political risk for the sake of enacting progressive policies. I just don't get why Lincoln is the target. I'm not an enormous fan of hers -- I'm fairly proud of my 2006 column ridiculing her incoherent views on fiscal policy -- but she does indeed hail from a very conservative state.