Politico reports: “Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln has run two successful Senate campaigns on pledges to expand and improve health insurance coverage. Now, as Congress works to deliver on that promise, it threatens to become an issue that could end her career.” Well, to be clear, what could end her career is being forced to support a radical redesign of health care that her constituents don’t want. The “firestorm [that] threatens to engulf Blanche Lincoln,” as Politico describes it, is Obamaism. Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Report explains that Lincoln’s a victim of the “national mood”—that would be the mood of reaction to the president’s radical agenda.
Lincoln is trying to duck and hide from voters. (“She delayed taking a firm position on creation of a government-backed insurance option, which prompted both sides to criticize and pressure her through television advertising and grass-roots mobilization.”) But she’s in quite a fix: succumb to pressure from Democratic Party leaders and the president or risk getting dumped by the voters. So it’s no wonder that an adviser to one of her potential Republican opponents is making Obama the central issue in the race: “This race will be more about the policies of Barack Obama than it will be about the policies and positions that Blanche Lincoln is talking about on a daily basis.”
This was not what the Obama-smitten media and punditocracy declared a year ago. They had in mind a permanent majority, brought about by a shift in the electorate’s political sensibilities from Center Right to Center Left. That hasn’t panned out, because the public has recoiled from the ultra-liberal president’s agenda and is increasingly peeved to discover that he loves spending not only their money (and their grandchildren’s) but also his time on everything but improving private-sector job creation.
That leaves Democratic lawmakers like Blanche Lincoln and the members of Congress from districts that went for John McCain in 2008 in a tight spot. They may be the first political victims of the Obama era. The White House and the congressional leadership might try to do something about that—moderate their extreme agenda, for starters. But they seem not overly concerned about the fate of a chunk of their congressional majority. At some point, Lincoln and her endangered Democratic colleagues will notice and may begin to re-evaluate why they are worrying about fidelity to an agenda that could well end their careers.