Rolling the Liberals in the House — Updated with a summary & link to the Cantor Whip Count Memo (a must read)
When Lee Stranahan, an uninsured father and Huffington Post blogger, who supported President Obama, made calls and worked to elect him launches a youtube video attack on the Trillion Dollar President that chronicles how Obama (in his own words) has violated his promise of not taxing the middle class, violated the promise of allowing you to keep your plan if you like it, and violated his promise not to make a deal with the drug companies — things have gotten really bad. The video below is worth watching.
Combined with the White House’s sudden urgency on completing their informal, secret non-conference (thank you Senator DeMint) it is clear the health bill is in a heap of trouble. What will happen next depends on whether there is some I’ll-shoot-the-hostage-if-my-demands-are-not-met-leadership, by the House liberals.
(If you have not seen the “charming liar” attack on Obama for reneging on his health care transparency promises or his drug company promises, pls click here. It is well worth it.)
“Liberals are particularly worried that Obama has indicated to negotiators that he wants to preserve the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans, a provision that is included in the Senate bill but not the House measure. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said several members spoke out on the subject during Thursday’s call.
“That position is going to be difficult in the House, and the White House needs to reconcile that,” Grijalva said in an interview. On that tax and a host of other issues, he added, “merely to rubberstamp what the Senate does is not enough.”
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) has enlisted 190 House Democrats to sign a letter declaring their opposition to the tax, which has also been fiercely criticized by labor unions — some of whose members would be exposed to the tax — and by other skeptics who fear the tax could hurt the middle class.”
The real question is, who cares?
The White House believes the liberals (just like Senators Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, Webb and others) will roll over and vote yes.
For all the liberals pounding on the bill or on this provision or that provision — the only question that matters is: will the liberals vote NO if they do not get their principles they believe so strongly included in the bill?
If they do not have the courage or the belief in their principles to vote NO on a bill that shreds them, then who cares that there are 190 Democratic Representative’s signatures on a letter to the Speaker? The Speaker and the White House only care about one thing, will you vote yes? Or will you vote no?
No one believes the liberals will vote NO, everyone believes they will cave and vote YES in the hours and minutes before the vote, despite the fact that the liberals are given the short end of the stick every time on issue after issue: abortion, public option, Medicare buy-in, banning illegals from getting benefits, imposing a mandate to force Americans to buy insurance from private insurers, taxing health care plans, especially the rich union ones.
They will be asked, “Do you want to destroy the Obama Presidency?” Are you going to vote “against your President?” Or, “are you going to kill health care reform?” as if they solely are responsible for the bill’s content?
So, the liberals — unless they play some very uncharacteristic and serious hardball — will not get what they want out of the secret, informal, non-conference, simply because — unlike Senator Lieberman — no one believes they will vote NO. Therefore, the White House can give liberals the middle finger and force them to sign-off on the Senate bill — at no cost.
Here is what one liberal blogger is writing in one of the liberal’s top websites:
“I asked Grijalva [Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus] whether the White House’s support for the Senate health care bill’s excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” insurance policies is compatible with his promise on the campaign.
“No, it’s not,” Grijalva said. This is very dangerous territory for the White House. When you have a Democratic congressman saying that the President is advocating raising taxes on the middle class, that’s fodder for campaign commercials against every member of Congress who votes for the health care bill, and against the President himself.”
Clearly, this is but one of many campaign pledges President Obama has broken about health care, but what are the liberals going to do about it? If history is any guide, they will beat their chests about their concerns, get rolled and fold like a house of cards.
Until one liberal who has the back-bone and the courage to say I will be the vote that kills the bill — and the credibility to tell the President and Speaker the same when they come calling or when the White House and the House Leadership put the screws to force them to change their vote — expect more of the same — the liberals get rolled, and then vote Yes. (This is called leadership.)
There is a credible argument to be made that if they did issue a credible threat, that the White House would cave. But in order for it to be credible, the Speaker and the White House would have to know for certain those threatening to vote no, would vote no — just like they knew Stupak’s gang would vote no and just like they knew Senator Lieberman would vote no. House liberals will have to convince the leadership that they are not only willing to take the bill hostage, but shoot-it-in-the head if their demands are not met.
But, we are no where near that point now. The liberals have not even said they will vote no — let alone stand up to the pressure that will be brought to bear if they do say they will vote no. Bottom line, do the liberals have any serious leadership in their ranks that will do the things necessary to win?
Is there a Jane Hamsher or a Lee Stranahan in the House?
If not, the liberals should stop wondering why they keep being rolled and ignored.
This is the link to the Cantor memo released this morning, that details a comprehensive whip count in the House. The memo deals with only the issue of abortion, the budget and Medicare Advantage — none of the issues of concerns detailed in this post. Even with only these issues, Cantor is at 37 NO votes — four short of the needed 41.
Essentially, the bottom line is that if the progressives/liberals post even a handful of votes against the bill, then it likely dies in the House.