Which Side is Blanche Lincoln On?

A mantra for August: every day, send one e-mail, one letter, and make one phone call to a wavering Congressmember or Senator saying that you want real health care reform.

Earlier this morning, I got a fundraising e-mail from Senator Blanche Lincoln, alleged Democrat of Arkansas, who has fiercely opposed the Employee Free Choice Act and has waffled on real health care reform. She’s engaging in standard double talk. Here are the exact words of the e-mail:

Senator Lincoln was on point with her message that responsible health care reform will happen this year in spite of the misinformation and scare tactics being employed by opponents. She said: “No more deadlines. We will take the time to get this right.”

So which is it, Senator? Do you want health care reform to happen, or do you want to drag it out as far as possible to get it watered down?

This is what I wrote back, although who knows whether anyone is reading it:

I confess I am somewhat puzzled by Senator Lincoln’s “on point” message: one the one hand, she says that reform will happen, and on the other hand, she seems to support those who want to drag out the process. I am awaiting to see what this means and whether she will actually support real reform.

I have supported Senator Lincoln in the past, and hope that I can do so in the future. If she strongly supports a real public option, a strong nationwide insurance exchange, tough regulations to ensure that insurance companies do not discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions, and adequate subsidies so that working families can afford adequate insurance, then I will be delighted to continue to write checks to her.

The mantra for August: every day, send at least one e-mail, one letter, and one phone call to wavering Representatives and Senators. Right now, I do not take a position on whether you should make up a zip code in order to make them think you live in their district. But if you do, it would be a time-honored American tradition.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.