Lincoln and the Left

By Dough Thompson

OK. Let me get this straight.

Unions and liberal bloggers spend millions trying to beat Blanche Lincoln, an incumbent Democrat.

They lose. Somebody at the White House makes an unnecessarily harsh statement of the obvious: Unions “flushed” $10 million of their members money in this race.

The White House gets criticized far and wide, even by an editorial in the New York Times, for undermining Democratic unity.

What Democratic unity?

Where was this “unity” when Lt. Gov. Bill Halter was recruited to unseat a Democratic incumbent in a tough election year in a swing state that happens to be listed by every pundit around as one of the most likely spots for GOP takeover?

These critics might have a point if the “flushers” had declared support of the voters’ choice after the primary. Instead the Daily Kos, for example, posted that the seat was lost and GOP John Boozman would win. Period. They advise the Democrats to spend money on races they could win. As if Kos knew what a “race they could win” looks like.

I know a lot of people in this town supported Halter. I know they’re very disappointed. I know people who have deeply held convictions that Lincoln has disappointed. They’re not a bunch of sore losers, but they are upset at the results.

However, it is not all right to launch what amounts to a destructive party civil war against an office holder you deem politically incorrect — and then gripe when somebody correctly points out how pointless and wasteful it was.

Here’s the real problem. People define “real Democrats” as liberal. Well, folks, a “real Democrat” is somebody who puts a Democratic ballot in the box. That’s as real as it gets.

“Real Democrats” in this state are Blue Dogs.

President Obama got elected because the other side got close to ruining the country and Obama was the only available alternative. Obama did not get elected because the rest of the nation “saw the light” after overwhelmingly electing George W. Bush in 2004.

By insisting that only “real Democrats” should run, liberals are more responsible for the repeated election of conservatives, more than Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, the entire Bush family — and Mike Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin — put together.

If the choice is either/or, this country’s going to go with the “conservative” every time until the brink of disaster is reached. Even then, whoever they turn to — Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama — isn’t going to be able to put the liberal checklist over the goal line, even with a super-majority in Congress.

Speaking of things Democrats could do better, check this out:

“At this point, neither the politics nor the economics support the idea of spending large sums, directly or through tax breaks, just to shave a percentage point off this year’s unemployment rate. But with plenty of slack in the economy and interest rates at historic lows, this is the ideal time to borrow and invest heavily in public infrastructure that has been badly neglected over the past 30 years.”

That was from the latest column by Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Pearlstein ( and that sharp, metallic clang you hear is the nail being hit squarely on the head.

We bailed out state governments and social spending with the “stimulus” package and launched an expensive new health care package — and left “roads and bridges, airports and air traffic control systems, urban transit, high-speed rail, schools and university facilities, national laboratories, national parks, ‘smart’ electric grids, broadband networks, green generating plants, and health information networks” lying around with what were, relatively speaking, crumbs.

As Pearlstein writes: “Properly chosen, these projects can have huge long-run economic payoffs while tangibly improving the lives of all Americans.”

Oh, by the way, they would have created a whole lot of jobs.

Categories: Legacy Archive