From NBC's Mark Murray
Democrats have been making the point that this year's ideologically charged GOP primaries (Crist vs. Rubio in Florida, McCain vs. Hayworth in Arizona, Grayson vs. Paul in Kentucky, and the challenge Robert Bennett will get in Utah) will end up minimizing GOP gains in November.
But with Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) challenging incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), Democrats now have an ideologically charged primary of their own.
While Arlen Specter vs. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet vs. Andrew Romanoff in Colorado are competitive Democratic primaries, they haven't featured the same level of involvement from the left that we're now seeing in the Lincoln-vs.-Halter race.
Consider this immediate endorsement that Halter received from MoveOn:
"Blanche Lincoln is one of the worst corporate Democrats in Washington. That's why 92 percent of Arkansas MoveOn members voted to support Bill Halter over Blanche Lincoln in a primary election. Instead of fighting for the health care reform Arkansas families desperately need, she took nearly a million ($866,000) from Big Insurance and HMO interests and then played a leading role in opposing the public health insurance option. She took $1.3 million from Wall Street banks and helped kill legislation that would've allowed struggling homeowners to stay in their homes. And she sponsored a bill to roll back the Clean Air Act to protect corporate profits. With Bill Halter, our Arkansas members see a candidate who will stand up to special interests. Arkansans deserve someone who'll fight for them, not Wall Street."
Here's FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher:
Blanche Lincoln stands for everything that's wrong with both parties: her primary loyalty is to her DC cohorts and her corporate donors, and she thinks it's her job to pick the taxpayer pocket on their behalf. As the head of the Agriculture Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, Lincoln has stood at the front of the line when it comes to repaying her corporate donors with political favors. She has personally been the recipient of big ag subsidies, and her continued tenure as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee would mean the death of sustainable agriculture for a generation. She's the prime target for an accountability campaign.
Some in the media will try to paint this as a "purge" of "moderates" from the Democratic party. It's not. Blanche Lincoln is a radical corporatist. That's not the "center" of anything. Conservatives and liberals alike are tired of watching Senators like Lincoln raise millions in campaign cash and vote for one bailout after another, as if there's no connection.
And here's Markos Moulitsas urging supporters to raise money for Halter:
Today, we're looking for 1,000 charter contributors to the Halter campaign, so if you're angry at our corrupt, corporate-owned government, strike a blow by helping rid the Senate of one of its worst corporatists.