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A Southern Mickey Kaus?

June 7, 2010

Despite what the evidence may suggest, I’ve never really been a big believer in the idea that Congressmen all fall into one of exactly two places on the political spectrum—i.e., when they get to Washington, “different kind of Democrats” just become Democrats and “reach-across-the-aisle Republicans” just become Republicans.  Of course, we must remember that these are politicians. They can be convinced to go along with things with which they might inherently disagree due to pressure from their party, their constituents, lobbyists, etc (see: Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, Gator-Aid).  This kind of crap is usually a big snoozer for me—I’m really bored by campaigns and elections and horserace politics and the lot, especially when those elections occur outside my home state.

All of that said, I’m intrigued by the stiff challenge Blanche Lincoln is facing in a primary runoff tomorrow.  It turns out that her biggest opponents in the race are some labor unions, those Iagos of the political world.  From the Washington Post:

Ostensibly, Lincoln’s opponent is Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. But the practical reality is that she is running against a handful of major labor unions — the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to name two.

In a memo sent to reporters Saturday, Lincoln campaign manager Steve Patterson said that unions had spent more than $10 million on the race — including $2.5 million in television ads in the three weeks since the May 18 primary, in which Lincoln took 44.5 percent of the vote compared with 42.5 percent for Halter. A third candidate — little-known D.C. Morrison — took 13 percent, forcing this week’s runoff. The goal of the union spending, according to Patterson? “Attacking Senator Lincoln because she doesn’t agree with them all of the time.”

And look who’s coming to her defense:

Bill Clinton, a Lincoln supporter, has gotten in on the act as well, appearing at a Little Rock rally last week and now in a television commercial in which he decries the influence of national unions on the race. “This is about using you and manipulating your votes,” the former president says. “If you want to be Arkansas’ advocate, vote for somebody who will fight for you.”

Labor is decidedly unapologetic about its involvement, insisting that Lincoln’s apostasy on the inclusion of the public option in the health-care bill as well as her opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act signaled that she was no longer with the party on its core principles.

Because, you know, the Democratic Party’s core principles entail caving in to all of Labor’s demands and doing just whatever the hell it says to do.  It seems like the only thing behind which every single member of Labor could get would be electing someone that would, you know, kowtow to Labor. I’ve always been ambivalent about everything Blanche besides the delightful old-school-ness of her given name (and her mistaken attempt to ban derivatives trading in the United States), but I have to say I’m rooting for her tomorrow.

I don’t know if Labor’s opposition to her makes her more or less electable in November (it seems quite likely that Labor will reverse their opposition to her as soon as she’s pitted against a—gasp—Republican), but its unrelenting hostility towards her in the primary strikes me as good for the country.  The GOP is not going to take over the Senate this November—come next year, both houses of Congress and the presidency will still be controlled by Democrats.  I’d prefer those houses to be filled with more Democrats who piss off labor unions than those that don’t.  Perhaps Labor’s marauding her during the primary will stay with her through her next term, provided she wins.

P.S.  I have no idea why Slick Willie is supporting her—and I’m having a hell of hard time caring—but good for him for backing the anti-union candidate.

P.P.S.  I think I just popped my Slick Willie cherry there.

P.P.P.S.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I mean it’s the first time I’ve ever written about Bill Clinton.

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