Favorite

Blanche goes bogus 

On the day that Lt. Gov. Bill Halter formally accepted the draft of national left-wing activists and announced he would run in the Democratic primary against U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a person close to Lincoln told me Blanche was going to get tough.

There is a difference, though, between getting tough and getting bogus. Lincoln's first salvo was dishonest. The second was a smear. It takes some doing to make a sympathetic figure of Halter — cold, humorless and imperious opportunist that he is. Lincoln's accomplishing it was her second recent magic trick. Her first was appearing to be on all sides of health care reform at the same time.

Her opening dishonesty was a little television commercial of hers that you probably liked. In it, Blanche directly confronts a negative television ad against her, paid for by national labor unions, and closes by scoffing that Halter had promised her he'd run a positive campaign. She concludes with the signature spunkiness of a self-professed “one tough lady,” saying snidely of this promise: “That didn't last long.”

But Halter didn't make that ad, which Lincoln knew full well. Halter's own TV commercials as of this writing have been worse than positive: They're sappy and grating with that screeching, goofy football coach.

The ad to which Lincoln refers was an independent commercial from national labor unions that despise her on account of her corporate Republican gradations and have settled on Halter only because he's the only non-reactionary alternative.

It would be illegal for Halter to coordinate his message with any independent outside attacks. Lincoln is blaming him for something said against her without his knowledge.

So Lincoln says Halter should have denounced the ad and is responsible and accountable for it because he hasn't. But that's like saying he's responsible for this column because it attacks Lincoln. But he isn't. I am.

By the way, I'm hearing that Arkansas corporate interests are talking among themselves about producing independent attack ads on Halter to counter the national labor assault on Lincoln. If these commercials occur, surely we can fully expect Lincoln to denounce them.

Now to the smear.

Halter made a lot of money at one point in his life and served on boards of assorted ventures. One was a software company that opened a 58-employee office in India. So that, Lincoln says in a TV ad, makes Halter an outsourcer of America jobs.

He was on a drug company board whose CEO got convicted of making false claims and a third that paid a class-action settlement in a lawsuit accusing it ofoverstating the effectiveness of its drug to fight lung cancer.

Blanche tells us about those in a creepy mailer. This is the cynical demonization process. It's not enough to distinguish yourself from your opponent by performance and policy. You must delve into his past and overstate any association that might make him seem more than someone with whom you merely disagree, but someone who is a sinister threat, near-criminal.

Is staying in public office worth that kind of thing?

Halter was not directly complicit in any of those matters. He is guilty of bumps in the road of business life — of associations with human beings who were less than pristine. None of it bears on his stand on the issues. He does not run for the U.S. Senate to move your job to India and sell you drugs that don't work.

It's Blanche, actually, who has a public record that is obliging to multi-national corporations and drug companies. That doesn't make her bad.

It makes her a bit of a Republican.

This is much like what happened to Lincoln herself in 1998 when one of her desperate Democratic opponents found a record of some old work she'd done as a lobbyist for a South African republic that was a homeland for blacks.

The opponent accused her by implication of being a sinister foreign agent and somehow complicit on race issues. A confirmed Washington insider — that's all she was, and is.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Viewed

  • Intracity tourism

    The issues that tug at my heartstrings are neighborhood stigma and neighborhood segregation, which are so prevalent in Little Rock. In my opinion, the solution to those problems is "intracity tourism."
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.
  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: O'Reilly's fall

    • O'Reilly should run for president. He's already cleared one major hurdle by proving he's a…

    • on April 27, 2017
  • Re: Intracity tourism

    • I love being a tourist in my own backyard. One of the advantages of being…

    • on April 27, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation