The New York Times today editorializes on the White House’s snotty response to the defeat of Bill Halter by Sen. Blanche Lincoln. It overlooks Democratic voter discontent at its peril.

For the White House to minimize the efforts of unions and others who helped support that challenge suggests a tone-deafness to the growing restlessness in the Democratic Party.

… Some of the anger toward Mrs. Lincoln is anti-incumbent sentiment, which we’ve seen in other races this year. But much of it was more specific. Many on the left were unhappy with her for opposing a public option in the health care law, for opposing bills making it easier to unionize and for being more concerned about deficits than about stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

… Clearly, many of the voters who complained that Democratic officials had lost their phone number after being elected were also referring to President Obama. Many Democrats don’t understand why the administration and Congressional leaders are giving in to trumped-up Republican fears about the deficit and not doing more to revive the economy. Rather than dismissing such concerns and ridiculing efforts at change, the White House should consider just how powerful they have become. There are virtues to pragmatism, but it should be in the service of an underlying principle.

Here, by the way, is a play-by-play on how labor and progressive groups and bloggers encouraged Halter to enter the race.


ALSO: Circuit Judge-elect Wendell Griffen, a Halter supporter, has a lot to say on his blog about the White House’s putdown of his supporters. In short, “we are not field hands.” A longer excerpt: