by Max Brantley
A wily old pol dropped by my house tonight. He offered two theories for Bob Johnson's dalliance -- and purported encouragement by insiders -- to challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
1) The Lu Hardin example. Hardin was encouraged into a primary race for Senate against Winston Bryant in 1996 to beat him up and beggar him to soften him up for a Republican (Tim Hutchinson) kill.
2) It's a lobby ploy to keep Lincoln in line on some coming critical votes -- such as card check, to name one of current high interest.
Theories. Reasonable theories.