Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have – wait for it, wait for it! – written a letter to the administration asking why the White House has put itself on the hook for spending 1.5 billion on one of Sen. Blanche Lincolns farm relief causes while not being able to find 1.2 billion to pay the 1999 Pigford settlement to minority farmers*.
“The current hardships experienced by other farmers should not trump hardships placed on African Americans and Native Americans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the past,” they wrote.
The lawmakers say that Obama should also take administrative action to pay $3.4 billion the federal government promised to settle claims that it mismanaged Native American trust funds. Elouise Cobell is the lead plaintiff in the case against the Interior Department.
As President Obama’s approval ratings sag and the mood of voters sours, some Democratic congressional candidates are distancing themselves from the White House, with the back-channel blessing of party officials.
The candidates are positioning themselves as independent voices no less frustrated with the Obama administration than people back home.
Let’s take a look at these ‘independents’ that the article mentions specifically: Rep. Dennis Cardoza & Rep. Jim Costa of California, and Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Plus, of course, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland (and DCCC chair, for his sins); after all, he’s arguing for distancing, right? So let’s see how they actually distance themselves. Never mind what they say; how do they vote?
It seems that Cardoza’s opinion that the Obama administration has ‘failed miserably’ in job creation doesn’t seem to have translated into any sort of opposition to either the job-killing bill that was cap-and-trade, or the health care rationing sideshow. Jim Costa’s declaration that the President isn’t ‘listening carefully’ to his constituents seems odd, seeing as he doesn’t seem to care that 69% of Californiansdon’t like the way his party handled the health care rationing bill debacle. Blanche Lincoln’s campaign claim that “Lincoln challenges Obama on liberal ‘extremes.’ ” is backed by… nothing. And Chris Van Hollen’s slightly nervous bravado about the need to sometimes oppose the President isn’t even a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do:’ it’s ‘Say as I say, while you do as I do.’
This is entirely unsolicited advice, but I’ll give it anyway. Independent voters aren’t the netroots: they will not respond well to the mushroom treatment. And there really is a limit to how long a party can get away with saying one thing, and doing another. In fact, we actually passed that limit last spring…
Maybe, maybe not – but when Tom Jensen feels the need to start his preview of the Senate race in Arkansas with the sentence “[w]e are going to have Blanche Lincoln-John Boozman numbers tomorrow* and they aren’t pretty for Lincoln” you can be reasonably certain that they won’t be giving out free kittens and ice cream at the Arkansas Democrat party HQ in celebration of the news. The general impression that I’m getting, in fact, is that when it comes to November the difference between Lincoln and other potential Democratic alternatives is going to be mostly in seeing how far the rubble bounces…
*This was written yesterday, so expect the news sometimes Tuesday morning.
…a Senator who is barely known for defeating Michael Steele in the 2006 election (honestly, Maryland does not have particularly interesting Senators; sorry about that) – anyway, if you can’t get Ben Cardin to sign off on your ‘astroturf’ rhetoric, well, you have a branding problem. Watch as he manfully attempts to avoid sweating on national television over the mess that his higher-ups have landed him in:
Cardin probably saw this poll (via @RobertBluey). 71% of adults want to attend a town hall involving health care, and are currently pegged at 50% for, 45% against. Turn those numbers into likely voters… and now you know why Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) suddenly doesn’t think that health care rationing protesters are ‘un-American‘ after all. Not that she’s planning to actually face all those protesters; even if they are also 2010 voters…