Lincoln gets a challenger in Arkansas primary

Blanche Lincoln has long been seen as a weak candidate for re-election to the Senate.  Arkansans voted for John McCain in 2008, and nothing that Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress has done since has made them any more sympathetic to their agenda.  Lincoln hoped that publicly opposing parts of ObamaCare and blocking Card Check might blunt voter anger in her state, but she still trails four relatively unknown Republicans in early polling.  Her opposition to Card check did have some impact on the race, though:

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is moving ahead with a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln, he announced Monday.

“Washington is broken,” Halter said in a video on his campaign website. “Bailing out Wall Street with no strings attached, while leaving middle-class Arkansas taxpayers with the bill; protecting insurance company profits instead of protecting patients and lowering health costs; gridlock, bickering and partisan games while unemployment is at a 25-year high. Enough’s enough.”

Halter’s decision further complicates Lincoln’s already difficult path to a third term. Polls have shown the senator trailing a slew of Republican opponents, including Rep. John Boozman and state Sen. Gilbert Baker, and she has angered her own party’s base by shying away from support for liberal priorities such as the Employee Free Choice Act and a government-run health insurance plan. …

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group that launched the website, released a statement Monday from its co-founder, Adam Green, calling Lincoln “out-of-touch” and predicting: “Bill Halter’s populist candidacy will speak to voters who know that Blanche Lincoln is part of a broken Washington.”

“Washington is broken”?  If that’s Halter’s campaign slogan, he’d better check to see who’s been running it lately.  Democrats have large majorities in both chambers of Congress and the White House.  If Washington is broken, is the answer sending more Democrats after almost four years of controlling both the House and the Senate?  I doubt Arkansans will buy that argument.

Let’s put it this way.  ObamaCare’s support among the electorate has dropped to below 40% in most polling, especially among likely voters.  Cap-and-trade legislation already stalled, and the latest scandals from the IPCC and the AGW movement won’t help revive it.  Democrats have spent most of a year bickering mainly among themselves to overhaul a health-care system of which most people approve while ignoring the fact that over four million jobs have disappeared without hardly a mention by Congress.  And it’s Lincoln who’s out of touch?

The challenge from the Left to Lincoln will force her to tack back to the progressive wing during the primary — a move that will seal her fate in the general election, assuming she gets that far.  A win by Halter will allow Arkansas Republicans to paint Democrats as radical statists who haven’t listened at all to their constituents for the last year.  Either way, Halter’s candidacy makes a GOP pickup in Arkansas almost a certainty.

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