As predicted Sen. Blanche Lincoln won't kill health reform legislation yet. She'll vote to open debate on legislation. Here's her speech. She indicated, however, that she WILL vote to filibuster a bill that includes a government-administered health option. I hope she gets that chance. And I hope she pays if her vote preserves the status quo -- a shameful system that sent 1,500 people of the world's wealthiest country to the Statehouse Convention Center today for services every other developed country believes belong to its citizens by right.
Lincoln mostly re-read the speech in a conference call with reporters. She sounded a touch combative in saying her position was influenced by what she thought best for Arkansans, not special interests of any persuasion or her political party.
Gilbert Baker appeared to be the first Republican out of the box with a critical news release blasting Lincoln's vote for cloture as a vote for government run health care. (Not true, it should go without saying, but must be repeated because of the misrepresentation, a talking point from the National Republican Senatorial Committee as well.) Republican candidate Conrad Reynolds won the metaphor battle: "She has pushed the rock over the cliff which will lead to an avalanche of government intervention in our lives." Reynolds, by the way, spent 30 years on a federal government payroll and enjoys a government health care plan for that service. Curtis Coleman says Lincoln is "disrespectful of her constituents" in voting to allow the Senate to consider health care legislation. Really. He said that. At least a half-million uninsured Arkansans and untold thousands of underinsured, undercovered and overbilled Arkies, would disagree.