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Democrats FAIL on EFCA — Is It Time for Blanche Lincoln’s Arkansas to Go Green?

Democratic Senators have decided to roll out a slow death for the Employee Free Choice Act. I’ve heard from more than one person that the recent defections from Feinstein, then Lincoln, then Pryor, then Warner, and now Webb were engineered by Harry Reid because… well, who really wants to piss off the Chamber of Commerce and NAM. They want it off the table, and they’re taking the position that the left has nowhere else to go.

Thomas Frank in the WSJ:

Card Check Is Dead
Some Democrats only care about labor’s money.

Why does labor always get it in the neck?

First, there are those Democrats who don’t care much for labor to begin with. Then there is the wide spectrum of Democratic donors and supporters who simply don’t understand the problems of blue-collar life. They might dislike the religious right, but they didn’t give money to Democratic political campaigns to increase union membership.

Or maybe it’s just the money. Consider the lineup of lobbyists that retail giant Wal-Mart has assembled to make its case against EFCA. According to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the House and Senate we find that Wal-Mart’s lobbyists include Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti (which employs former presidential candidate John Kerry’s liaison to Congress during the 2004 campaign), a former legislative director for Rahm Emanuel, and a former assistant to Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Wal-Mart has also secured, according lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress, the services of Tony Podesta, of the Podesta Group, one of the hottest lobby shops in Democratic D.C. Mr. Podesta is joined in pushing Wal-Mart’s views on EFCA by a former assistant to Democrat Mark Pryor, the other senator from Arkansas.

The real standout on Wal-Mart’s labor-issues roster, though, is D+P Creative Strategies, which wears its liberalism as proudly as last week’s tax protestors did their three-cornered hats. According to its Web site, D+P "highlights partnership, shared benefits, and a commitment to advancing social justice goals."

So, if all the big money is being made by Democrats screwing over labor, why are progressives holding their noses and letting them? If we’ll just have to suck it up while they shake down big business and sell us out, why do we help them?

Which brings me to an interesting point. As a regular reader of Down With Tyranny, I’m aware that Arkansas has a habit of dividing up elections — political elites of both parties decide who gets what congressional seat, and then they run unopposed. This has led to a curious phenomenon, because Arkansas has a very strong Green Party. Rebekah Kennedy, who raised $13,745 to Mark Pryor’s $804,578 got 20% of the vote in 2008. Deb McFarland, who raised $0 to Vic Snyder’s $301,981 got 23.20% of the vote.

Because the population of Arkansas is so small and heavily concentrated around the Little Rock area, it has created a particularly fertile ground for the Greens. It’s a cheap media market, and if a candidate who raises no money can still get 23% of the vote, imagine what an organization with committed members willing to do door-knocks and registration could achieve.

Blanche Lincoln is up for re-election in 2010, and she’s running hard to the right. In addition to coming out against EFCA, she’s said she’ll introduce a bill to let people carry guns in national parks. She’s also opposing President Obama on the estate tax, and wants to take $100 billion away from efforts like healthcare to raise the exemption threshold on the estate tax from $1 million to $5 million for individuals, and cut the maximum tax rate from 45% to 35%. She says she’s looking out for the little guy farmer and small business — but the Tax Policy Center says only 100 farms and small businesses in the entire country would be affected by her plan. The Walton family, however, make out like bandits.

Lincoln’s numbers aren’t great — her approval rating is at 45% positive, 40% negative. A Green Party candidate in the general couldn’t take her in a machine politics state like Arkansas, but they might have the same effect Pat Toomey had on Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania when he decided that he’d best stop taking his right wing support for granted.

I don’t have any plans so no need for anyone to go on suicide watch, but I thought I’d liven things up around here on a slow Thursday night and take a poll, just for shits & giggles.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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