How bad is it for Lincoln? | Arkansas Blog

How bad is it for Lincoln?



Pretty bad if you believe Rasmussen polling on matchups between U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and four Republican opponents with name recognition ranging from zilch to a little. They'd all beat her.

Tom Cox, Curtis Coleman, Kim Hendren and Gilbert Baker score 43 to 47 against Lincoln's 39 to 41. Commentary from Rasmussen:

Lincoln fails to get 50% of the vote in any of the match-ups, and any incumbent who falls short of that level is considered vulnerable. In three of the match-ups, however, she is virtually tied with the challengers at this time.

The two-term senator, who was reelected with 54% of the vote in 2004, is perhaps made more vulnerable by her seat on the Senate Finance Committee which is now wrestling with the national health care reform plan, a measure which is highly unpopular in Arkansas. Just today she voted against including in the bill the controversial “public option” being pushed by liberal senators in her party.

Lincoln's catering to the right-wing yesterday also included a vote with Republicans to reinstitue spending on dangerously worthless abstinence-only sex education. Last I looked, Democrats held most elective offices in Arkansas. Lincoln perhaps might give some thought to catering to the Democratic base, not the base of the perennial losers in Arkansas. Next up for her: A vote for a Republican amendment to effectively strip private insurance plans of abortion coverage.

Maybe Lt. Gov. Bill Halter ought to run against her, David Sanders suggests.

ON THE JUMP: Lincoln's statement of defense on her health care votes with Republicans yesterday. She's going to fix a lack of competition in insurance by reducing tax deductions for insurance companies. Uh huh.

Lincoln Statement on Public Option Votes


By Paul Barton


WASHINGTON – Responding to criticisms that her health care votes are benefitting the insurance industry, Sen. Blanche Lincoln on Tuesday offered an amendment that she says would lower compensation to insurance executives.

Lincoln, a Democrat up for re-election next year, described the amendment in a lengthy statement issued Tuesday night at the request of the Arkansas Times. She also used the statement to explain her two votes against the public option during the Senate Finance Committee’s continuing work on health care reform.

Her statement: “Arkansans have told me they support health care reform that forces insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and prevents them from dropping coverage when you become seriously ill.  We can achieve these goals, stabilize the cost of coverage for Arkansans who have health insurance, and expand coverage to the uninsured and underinsured without creating a purely public, new government program, which most Arkansans do not support.  I have promised my constituents that I will fight for health insurance reform that is deficit neutral, now and in the future, and that creates more choices for small businesses and their workers and the self-employed.  These are important priorities that I believe we can achieve.

“In addition, I am working to ensure that requiring Americans to purchase health insurance does not result in a personal windfall for health insurance company executives.  My amendment would cut the tax shelter, from $1 million to $500,000, of what businesses are able to deduct for executive compensation.  This is a fair policy change aimed at lowering insurance costs to consumers and reassuring them that insurance companies are not receiving excessive tax breaks while at the same time profiting from a government mandate.”

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