NY Times Soft on Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Thanks to an out-of-state reader for tipping us on a NY Times article published yesterday about Arkansas’ own Senator Blanche Lincoln. Titled “In Arkansas, a Democrat Navigates the Health Fight“, the article gently describes Lincoln’s activities over the August recess. The article might have better been titled “Arkansas Senator Hides from Angry Constituents.”
Senator Lincoln has chosen not to give her constituents who oppose President Obama’s government-run health care plan an audience during her break from DC. Instead of pointing out that she locked out constituents with whom she disagrees, the Times states she “filled the first week of the Senate recess with controlled events before respectful crowds, like business forums and civic club luncheons.” Rather than state Lincoln is intentionally avoiding facing angry constituents who are rightly concerned about Obama’s attempt at a government takeover of the health care industry, Times’ reporter Kevin Sack states, “The cautious scheduling, avoiding any risk of an ugly videotaped confrontation, underscored the political hazards of the health care debate for centrist Democrats like Ms. Lincoln…”
Sacks describes Lincoln as “caught characteristically in the middle” of the health care debate, which isn’t exactly accurate either. Unless caught in the middle is synonymous with bouncing from one extreme to the other, hitting both sides numerous times, flipping and flopping so much that no one has any real idea where the Senator really stands on this one issue. Almost at the end of the article, the author points out that “her opinion has been difficult to pin down.” Most definitely an understatement considering in a span of little more than a month she went from being for it, to against it, to for it again. Our requests for a yes or no answer on whether or not she’d support a public option have been met with vague, non-committal responses from which we’re unable to discern her position. A more fitting description of Senator Lincoln’s position is straddling the fence, waiting until the last possible moment so that she can vote whichever way maximizes her political gain. Waffling might be a good descriptor for Lincoln’s position.
The article so softly touches on Lincoln’s calling Obamacare protesters “un-American” that the reader almost wants to feel sorry for her. Sacks almost makes the Senator out to be a victim when he states “Ms. Lincoln quickly issued a statement saying she should not have used the term. But the state Republican chairman, Doyle Webb, accused her of ‘becoming an elitist.’” The author then fails to challenge Lincoln on her excuse for not holding town hall meetings with her constituents. In fact, Lincoln again speaks in condescending tones of her constituents. “If people genuinely wanted to have a constructive conversation, then that would be a different thing.” she said. “But that has not been what we’ve seen.”
So Lincoln has really learned nothing from the uproar that resulted after her original “un-American” comment and her apology was nothing more than empty words. She obviously still has no respect for those of us who exercise our 1st Amendment right to protest and demand our views be heard on government-run health care.
And the Times seems to be doing more to protect her than to point that out.