by Max Brantley
Politico, which loves to force disparate political outcomes into unifying themes, now decides a single congressional race in Pennsylvania -- a happy win for a Democrat where the GOP had made a huge investment and had much going for it -- turns upside down the notion that a partisan revolution is in the offing in November. I hope they're right.
At the very same time, Politico asserts, on the strength of three Senate races, including the Democratic primary in Arkansas, that "activists have seized control" of elections. It's a thin thesis. Teabaggers indeed won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucy. Common sense ruled in Pennsylvania, where Democrats rejected a turncoat, Arlen Specter, who'd often been a thorn in their side. And what of Arkansas?
The notion that "liberal activists" seized control of the Arkansas Democratic primary is laughable. (Oh, why not. It was the Arkansas Times endorsement that almost pushed Bill Halter to victory.)
More seriously: there's no doubt liberal money beat up on Blanche Lincoln to Bill Halter's benefit. But she ended where she started before MoveOn, the SEIU or anybody else had figured out where Arkansas was. She was in the low 40s when she was for card check and before the election season had begun. She ended in the low 40s after she came out against card check and voted for and against health care. Again: Those weren't liberals voting for D.C. Morrison last night. Many liberals voted for Halter. So did some Republicans in West Little Rock and Grant County and the Delta and elsewhere who thought beating Lincoln now was the best ticket to a Republican victory in the fall. Oh, and please: The most liberal county in Arkansas -- Pulaski -- went strongly for Blanche Lincoln. The big Hillcrest box, reliably the most liberal in the state, went 725-498 for Lincoln.
It would not surprise me to see Blanche Lincoln win the runoff. But I"ve been wrong before -- a number of times last night.