This morning the Blue Dogs were meeting with Republicans about health care, and this afternoon, the Republicans release a memo:
Democratic Leadership has told Mr. Boehner’s staff that there will be no vote on Health on the Floor before recess and we will leave Friday.
We still have no confirmation of plans to resume or end the Committee Markup.
It’s incredible that we’re even having this discussion. The hard fact is that 76% of the country wants a public option. I’m not even blaming the Blue Dogs.
Where are the fucking progressives? The Blue Dogs are organized, they are whipping successfully, they know what they want and they are negotiating for it, and they don’t give a shit. The progressives are sitting in safe D+22 seats and with notable exception, they aren’t saying anything. They aren’t signing letters, they aren’t making statements, they aren’t calling the Blue Dogs out for being Blue Cross Dogs, they are just sitting there.
Are they simply counting on the Blue Dogs to back down? Dday:
Basically, this is a massive game of chicken between moderates and liberals. The moderates figure liberals will back down, based on past experience. The liberals think the moderates will do the same. What the liberals have going for them is the fact, plain fact, that a defeat of health care reform will drag down the party, and the most vulnerable seats, frankly, are occupied by those same moderates. If health care reform passes, certain lawmakers could lose seats in very particular circumstances. But if reform fails, only one group is certain to go down with it – the Blue Dogs.
I actually think the progressives are more at risk. If you look at a guy like Gene Taylor (R+16) or Mike Ross (R+7), they’re sitting in heavily Republican districts but they win by huge margins. Taylor won 74.6% of the vote in 2008 and and 79.8% in 2006. Mike Ross took 86% of the vote in 2008. Their conservative constituents won’t care if health care fails.
Liberals in D+22 districts, on the other hand, have a lot to think about. They’ve been supported by rich hippies for decades based on their "good intentions," which seem to fly out the window when push comes to shove. If you’re one of the 90 members of Congress who raised money by promising to end the war by defunding it, but weren’t one of the 32 who held their ground when the vote actually mattered, how are you going to explain it? Or how about a bad vote on the Waxman-Markey big coal bailout bill? The Blue Dogs get all the pork, the progressives get stiffed. They can’t even deliver for their districts, let alone pass progressive legislation — even with a Democrat in the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, not to mention the magic 60 votes in the Senate.
People are paying attention to health care. If 76% of the country wants a public plan, you can imagine that figure is probably 99% in a D+22 district. How are these members going to explain selling out over and over again when 40 of them working together could have made a difference?
If we raise this debate in these districts during the August recess, it makes a crappy sell-out vote very hard to take. Lots of young enthusiastic people would like to have those seats, and if old dinosaur progressives have grown ineffective in those jobs, it’s time for new blood.