Yeah it sucks, and I’m in no mood to write one of those “we fought the good fight” pieces any more than you’re in the mood to read one. So a few quick points:
1) There is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives amendment would never be in the financial regulation bill unless Halter was in the race. None. It’s not a guess. Many people who have been working on the legislation have said so, repeatedly. She only became interested in it to show she was doing something with the banks besides soaking up their PAC money. If she had lost today, it would’ve been out of the bill tomorrow. Tonight somewhere Goldman Sachs is weeping, because if they take it out now, she’ll look like a corporate lackey who was only doing it for the optics and Boozman will have a field day.
2. It’s no small thing that Blanche’s $2.9 million in PAC donations from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, AIG and Exxon Mobil were offset by $3.6 million in small donor donations for Halter. That could not have happened 10 years ago, because we would have been at the mercy of the media to get the message out to tens of thousands of people. When we started trying to calculate how much the online organizations could raise together, we really didn’t know (I guessed $3 million). Now we do. $3.6 million for the not-extraordinarily-progressive Bill Halter means it can be done again, which will will be a strong incentive for quality challengers to take on incumbents who might not otherwise want to risk it.
3. We should’ve pushed back earlier on the “labor is running the campaign” narrative. Most of the money for Halter’s campaign came from small dollar donors — the labor money was outside expenditure, over which Halter himself had no control. Over the past two days I literally winced as I heard one liberal pundit after another internalize that right wing message. It had to be toxic in Arkansas.
4. That said: suck on it, “anonymous Senior White House officials” and other assorted DC Democrats (extra hard for you, Bill Clinton). Labor is not your bitch, and their money isn’t yours to direct. They’re supposed to take what, another six years of black eyes from Blanche Lincoln just because you say so? If their $8 million buys derivatives legislation and limits the damage that the Masters of the Universe can do to the world economy in the future, it’s not only a bargain, it also means that a bunch of nurses and janitors have done more to rein in the banks than you and your entire pack of servile, visionless Wall Street lackeys has done since you took office.
Update: Greg Sargent says much the same thing only better, without all the Blogging 2004 language.