The Griffin Room and the Arkansas Project, both fellow conservative Arkansas bloggers, and even the liberal Arkansas Times pick up on the tough spot in which poor Sen. Blanche Lincoln has found herself. Sen. Lincoln has survived as a Democrat Senator from a red state by effectively playing both sides of the issues. She faces a similar problem that her junior colleague Sen. Mark Pryor faces but she responds quite differently. Sen. Pryor often takes the more Conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat approach.
Sen. Lincoln on the other hand is a fence straddler. She often will take both sides on the issue until it is impossible to tell where she stands. This has worked well for her in a Senate evenly split between Republican and Democrats and the Republican Bush administration in the White House. In fact, she was often the swing vote and would use this to leverage some pork, eh, much needed legislation for her home state.
But alas, for Swingin' Lincoln, the good old days are gone. With President Elect Obama set to take office and the Democrat fighting to win a seat in Georgia and steal a seat in Minnesota to reach the magical 60 seat number, Sen. Lincoln is being asked to do something she does not like to do – pick a side. This has come to a head on her vote on the misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act” which would allow the Labor Union Bosses more power to strong arm employee into joining the union with such measure as the elimination secret ballots. Arkansas business leaders are lobbying Sen. Lincoln to vote no on the bill, pointing out that 95% of her home state is non-unionized. But her good buddies inside the Beltway are insisting that she fall in line with the Party who is largely backed by these Labor Union Bosses.
Speaking on this issue to business leaders in Little Rock, Sen. Lincoln said, “I know it’s a big concern among the business community, and I know it’s a big concern among the labor community. I hope what we don’t do is to allow that discussion to become a distraction to the very critical issues that are facing this country right now.” In other words, can’t we talk about something else? How about something we are agree on where I can’t make anyone mad.
I think the days of Swingin' Lincoln are over; she will have to pick a side. She will either have to join Sen. Pryor’s Blue Dog club and no longer be the popular kid at her Washington cocktail parties or she will have to cave in to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s iron fist and live it up during her last term in office. Either way, it will be an improvement.