As “evidence” that the House has the votes to pass the Senate’s health care bill, the AP wrote an article about 10 Dems who voted “no” the first time who now might be wiling to vote “yes.”

I’m sure many laughed as hard as I did at the suggestion that those who didn’t want to answer were “wavering” over what Ruth Marcus rightly characterized as a “career ender” vote.  While it’s perfectly predictable that those who are retiring (Tanner, Gordon and Baird) would switch their votes, I figured others like Walt Minnick and Suzanne Kosmas will flip about the time pigs fly.

In 34 states, lawmakers have either filed or proposed amendments to their state constitutions to ban insurance mandates.  Much of the public option’s continued popularity is due to the fact that, as poll after poll confirms, people don’t want to be forced to buy the product of the private insurance companies they loath.

And if you haven’t seen the John Shadegg video on the topic, it’ll give you a preview of the tape that’s running through the head of every endangered House Democrat as the 2010 election approaches.  Nobody wants to hand the “mandate” to their Republican opponent as a campaign issue.

As I told Rick Klein and David Chalian on TopLine yesterday, if you don’t think the endangered Freshmen and Sophomores in the House are driving the car right now, think again.  Remember that magic number of 39 Democratic votes needed to join with the Republicans for a majority?  Well, that’s how many Freshmen and Sophomores were willing to ban together in the “oust Rangel” effort — rather than have the issue hung around their necks as a millstone in 2010:

Joe Crowley, an ally of Rangel who has also played a leadership role at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is leading the whip count efforts on Rangel, acting as a go-between between the vulnerable freshman and sophomore Democrats, on the one hand, and Rangel and Democratic leadership on the other.

They were willing to buck leadership to oust the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to keep their seats.

Think about that.

So we’re supposed to believe that Suzanne Kosmas is going to cast a vote for a mandate, and be cannon fodder for the Senate once again, when Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is running for governor and threatening to file a lawsuit to block it?  She wants to trigger that as a top-of-the-ticket campaign issue in the state?


And now Ryan Grim reports that Walt Minnick, whose Idaho district has a PVI of R+18, “responded by calling the AP to say that there was no way he was voting yes the next time around.” After what was no doubt furious arm twisting he’s now saying he’ll look at whatever they want to show him, but “if it is simply the Senate bill, I’ve looked at that and decided I was opposed to it.”

They can’t even hold the “yes” votes.  Mike Arcuri now says he’ll vote against the Senate bill because he doesn’t like the excise tax and there’s no prescription drug price negotiation.  And Melancon says that they’ve lost votes.

Grijalva says he’s “leaning” towards opposing the bill.  Why the trepidation?  Well, because anyone with 10 fingers and toes can figure out they don’t have the votes for this thing, and nobody wants to get the blame for killing the Democratic dream of health care reform.  Rahm Emanuel’s efforts seem exclusively devoted to making sure blame for the failure to pass health care doesn’t fall on his head by lobbying the press.    Shouldn’t he be out there whipping if they want to pass this thing?  That’s his job.

I’m not sure what the “end game” is here for anyone, other than to follow Rahm’s lead and avoid the falling debris.  Obama may think they can still pass this bill, but Rahm seems to know that the  top priority at this stage is to make sure blame for health care’s failure goes to somebody else.  So far he has managed to generate the most ink for his “Obama is a bumbling stooge” campaign, but that’s largely because he’s willing to pick up the phone and call reporters and Gibbs doesn’t like to.   Rahm already had all those channels established, and now he’s flooding them with with Rahm-friendly spin.

Even David Broder has his eyebrows raised over that spectacle.

Maybe there’s some way that Obama can personally move enough votes into the “yes” column to pass this thing.  But I don’t see it.  They haven’t produced one single “no” vote that has committed to switch.  And I don’t think they’re likely to.