Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 159-Primary politics

Dear Mr. President,

I haven't followed Blanche Lincoln's career. Her recent primary race caught my attention mainly because of the support for Bill Halter on DailyKos. I won't attempt to pass myself off as any kind of expert on Arkansas politics, but it seems to me that the White House made an incredibly foolish tactical error in throwing its support behind the incumbent. Lincoln opposed the public option, opposes bringing prisoners in Guantanamo bay to the US, she opposes the estate tax, she takes huge corporate campaign contributions, she is, in short, exactly the kind of politician you've criticized in your campaigns, were she a Republican. (I'm sure you'll have ample opportunity to demonstrate this when her Republican opponent wins this fall.) Isn't it hypocritical for the White House to perpetuate the stagnation and inaction caused by the Joe Liebermans and Blanche Lincolns, when you won your office promising a new kind of government?

This isn't to imply that conservative Democrats, or that centrists in general, have no place in our legislature; however, the battle for healthcare reform illustrated our desperate need for the political courage that no bought-and-paid for stooge of corporate interests can possibly provide. It illustrated the need for change. You, Mr. President, were an anti-establishment Democrat who challenged Hillary Clinton and won on the strength of both your grassroots support and the clutch endorsements of members of the Democratic establishment (like Senator Kennedy) who had the vision to see that you could be what our country needed. Why would you not take every opportunity to breathe new life into the legislative branch, to support those courageous few willing to take on the well-funded and complacent incumbents who have frustrated every attempt of your administration to wield the power of the majority? Especially when your support of the status quo results, as I believe the Arkansas race will, in the loss of a Senate seat to the Republicans?

The political leadership of the White House has been incredibly disappointing when it comes to primary challenges. Democratic incumbents are given little incentive to demonstrate political courage when the White House supports them on incumbent status alone. The Democratic party is strengthened by the primary process, not weakened by it; it is how we hold our elected officials accountable. I'm incredibly let down by today's results, and will only be more so when the full effect of this betrayal of liberal principles manifests in November.

Respectfully yours,


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