November 22, 2009
Don't turn opponents of what you oppose into supporters of what you oppose!
Glenn Reynolds linked the following list of Red State Democrats who voted for cloture last night, and here they are:
Alaska - Mark Begich.A skilled political analyst I am not, but I can count, and I see 13 senators above. Right now, the Senate is split 60/40, Democrat versus Republican. What that means is that if, say, ten of above 13 senators have problems with the health care bill, it won't pass.
Bear in mind that while there is considerable overlap, the above list is not identical to the list of Senate Blue Dogs that has been floating around:
Nelson, Ben (D-NE)I am not about to research each one of these senators to determine the possible objections they may have to one or more provisions in the health care bill, but I do know this: because Republicans are in the minority, they cannot defeat the bill simply by voting along party lines. It must therefore be their goal to get as many Democrats as possible to vote with them against the bill.
Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't common sense suggest that the Republicans ought not do anything which might help reluctant Democrats vote for the bill?
No matter what horror is in that bill, the more horrifying it is, the less likely the blue dogs will vote for it, right? So if, for example, the bill criminalized heterosexual marriage and lowered the age of consent to six, wouldn't it be better to leave those things in and demand an up and down vote than to take them out and overcome Democratic objections?
If the Republicans are going to vote against this anyway, why not just do that, and vote against it as it is? Cleaning it up (or helping the Democrats clean it up) so that it overcomes the objections of reluctant Democrats strikes me as the worst strategy imaginable -- unless the goal is to help get it passed.
It may be that I am not getting something, but to me, simple math and common sense dictates the following.
It just isn't smart for Republicans to turn Democratic opponents of the bill into supporters of the bill.
Once again, I think it is the worst strategy imaginable, and it seems so obvious -- so painfully obvious -- that I shouldn't have to be pointing it out.
So then, why am I?
Because the Republicans did it in the House, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Were these professional politicians really that naive? Or did they know what they were doing?
I don't know, but here's what I don't want to have to say again:
The bottom line is that this bill could have been stopped. By Republicans.
MORE: Here's Byron York:
...judging by the statements of four moderate Democrats -- Lieberman, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Nelson -- it will be far, far harder when the process comes to the really important vote, the one that would bring debate to a close and move on to an up-or-down vote on the Democrats' health care plan. On Saturday, all four of those Democrats publicly threatened to side with Republicans and kill the bill before it can move to a final vote, unless their concerns are met.So let's just hope the Republicans don't do anything that will help meet their concerns.
AND MORE: Reading between the lines here, it appears that Arkansas's blue dog Senator Lincoln is facing extreme pressure from the left, in the form of a possible primary challenge from Lt. Governor Halter. At a Clinton Library event, Bill Clinton himself denounced this ploy, and pointedly refused to attend a Keith Olbermann event:
Clinton responded that Olbermann was politicizing the clinic, and that it wasn't helpful for Olbermann to do that. He said he did not feel he could show up now, because the event had turned political.Those who oppose government health care should consider themselves lucky that Hillary Clinton is not president right now.
MORE: From commenter LYNNDH, a good point:
You need to revise/update your list. Salazar is no longer Senator, but Bennett is. Salazar is now in BO's cabinet.Point noted, but it's not my list to revise. It's just one that has been floating around, and I used it for comparison purposes.
So scratch Salazar. (Whether to add Bennett, I don't know.)
MORE: Speaking of Senator Bennet, David Harsanyi's column reveals that he is under enormous pressure to cave, but is being encouraged to risk martyrdom -- even at the risk of losing his seat.
On CNN's "State of the Union" last weekend, host John King presented Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet with a yes-or-no question: "If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you . . . you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?"
posted by Eric on 11.22.09 at 06:37 PM
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