2010/03/02

Democratic leadership and primaries

Y'know, I've felt this way for a long time anyway, but I think it needs to be re-stated upon the President's endorsement of Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) to be re-elected. The Democratic National Committee (DNC), the House and Senate Democratic Campaign Committees (DCCC & DSCC) need to stay out of primary races. They should never express any sort of opinion and they should never chip in as much as a nickel to any primary campaign.

First off, it's not the slightest bit surprising that in each and every single, solitary case that the White House and the rest of the Democratic leadership group will habitually support the incumbent in their primary battles. I mean, that's just a given. Obviously, these groups want to continue working with people that they've gotten to know. Obviously, they feel that "our buddy" has contributed to "the fight" and will continue to do so, whether or not they've actually contributed very much or, in the case of Ben Nelson (D-NE), they've actively worked against the better interests of the Democratic Party as a whole and used up money that could have been put to more worthwhile purposes.

I have nothing but good things to say about how MoveOn has responded to the Blanche Lincoln-Bill Halter primary. MoveOn appears to understand why primaries exist.

Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is one of the worst Democrats in Washington, siding with corporate interests to obstruct progress.
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Bill Halter is the progressive lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Halter has fought to make sure every child in Arkansas can afford to go to college, has helped organize free clinics to offer health care to people without insurance, and opposed vicious anti-gay ballot measures.

The Nation finds Lincoln very uninspiring:

Senator Blanche Lincoln, the exceptionally uninspired (and uninspiring) Arkansas Democrat who has dragged her heals [sic] on health-care reform, labor-law reform and just about every other major issue that matters to grassroots Democrats while at the same time backing bank bailouts and trade policies that batter Arkansas workers and farmers, will face a serious primary challenge from the state's lieutenant governor.
Bill Halter, who was elected to Arkansas' No. 2 job with 57 percent of the vote in 2006, has positioned himself as a far more progressive player on education, health care and, above all, economic issues than Senator Lincoln.

The Nation feels that "old-fashioned populism is the only message that will keep Democrats competitive in states such as Arkansas" and clearly, if the Democratic leadership group is not going to be part of that populist initiative, they'd better get out of the way and let the more progressive, energetic people take charge.


Rachel Maddow agrees and questions DNC Chairman Tim Kaine about this. The piece with that video also runs a quote from Steve Rosenthal, a veteran Democratic strategist and former top AFL-CIO official: "People voted for change in ’08 and feel like they’re not getting the change they voted for.”

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