As many of you know The House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution that funded the government, with the exception of Obamacare. The fight now belongs in the Senate. If Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn can keep 41 Republicans together to filibuster the CR until Harry Reid promises not to try to amend the Bill then we could see and up and down vote on the CR as presented to the Senate by the House. In which case Harry Reid will shut down the Government. Or it will pass with a few Democrat votes. Heritage Action has spent the better part of the Summer whipping up Republicans in favor of this strategy. But can they now turn their sites on vulnerable Democrats. Here is a list in order of priority of Democrats I think we should target via email, phone calls, letters, etc. In order to get them to vote for a CR.
1) Joe Manchin: Democrat-West Virginia. I have multiple reasons to think Manchin would vote to defund Obamacare. 1) He currently owes Obama nothing. Not only is the EPA outright attacking WV, Joe Manchin recently spent almost all of his political capital on trying to push through a gun control bill that failed miserably in the Senate. 2) This man practically campaigned against Obama in 2010, and refused to show up to the DNC convention. Not only that but West Virginia gave each of it’s counties to Mitt Romney. His state hates the ACA and almost everything about the Obama Administration. Nor does Joe Manchin have any vote connecting him to Obamacare, as he was not present to vote for the actual bill. He has no reason to be loyal to the Obama Administration.
2) Heidi Heitkamp: Democrat-North Dakota. She like Joe, didn’t vote for Obamacare originally as she was not present in the Senate at the time. Unlike Joe she has already taken a position opposite this administration on gun control voting against Toomey-Manchin. No doubt coming from an Energy state she is also angry about the EPA right now, though less so then Joe since the EPA hasn’t gotten around to their War on Oil yet. What is more her state hates the ACA and the Obama administration.
3)Mark Pryor: Democrat-Arkansas. While Mark Pryor voted for Obamacare, this one vote is what will likely cook his goose in his attempts to win a third term in 2014. I still hope to see Tom Cotton beat him. That being said Pryor is looking for a way to save his hide, he’s tacked farther right than Landrieu, Hagan, or Begich, in his attempts to stave of Defeat. I’d say he’d be more willing to vote to Defund then most Dems.
4) Max Baucus: Democrat-Montana While Max Baucus is the original sponsor in the Senate for the ACA, he has little reason to be loyal to it now. In essence Baucus ( and to an extent President Obama) faced adversity within his own state over the ACA, both from Conservatives and Republicans. And from the popular Democrat Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer. During the crafting of the bill it became evident that it would not include a Public Option. Schweitzer among others were heavily critical of a plan that did not result in Single-Payer. Schweitzer in fact disparaged the ACA while sharing the same stage with Baucus and Obama. Max Baucus for years has faced criticism from the Left for being the “K-Street Senator” and many on K-Street, even those who originally supported it, have now soured on the Law. Baucus has also seen his power reduced by Majority leader Harry Reid, and many of the duties of the Finance Committee have been given to the Budget Committee. This slight has not gone unnoticed by Baucus. He has also referred to Obamacare as a “trainwreck” and it has effectively ruined his legacy. Baucus would be having difficulties winning reelection now and so has instead opted for retirement. The years of left-wing insults and recent slights might make Baucus willing to vote for a CR defunding Obamacare. It would be a parting shot at his fellow Democrats and it would certainly increase his popularity within his native state.
5) Tim Johnson: Democrat-South Dakota Like Max Baucus, Tim Johnson is a moderate Democrat who no doubt reluctantly voted for the ACA. Unlike Montana South Dakota has a history of electing Republicans and Tim Johnson has opted to retire rather than be booted out by Governor Mike Rounds (R). The one Democrat who stood a decent chance of holding his seat for the Party was Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a daughter of a former Governor and former U.S. Representative. Sandlin was a Pro-Gun, Anti-Obamacare Democrat who narrowly lost to Republican Kristi Noem in 2010 elections. With enough outside pressure from his constituents Johnson could vote for a CR defunding Obamacare in an effort to rejuvenate his now scarred legacy.
6) Mark Warner: Democrat-Virginia The most liberal of this group, Warner likes to call himself a “Radical Centrist” but is really a “stealth Progressive” . He represents the now Purple state of Virginia, a state in which Obamacare isn’t really all that popular, but apparently not unpopular enough to hurt Obama in 2012. IF Republicans can force an up and down vote on the House’s CR without Reid’s Amendment restoring ACA funding, then a Govt. Shutdown can , with honesty, be blamed on Democrats. Warner, while likely thinking he can blame Republicans, would be vulnerable to this line of attack. He is up for reelection in 2014 and is considered “safe” by most experts. Conventional wisdom had Bob McDonnell challenging him, and if he had it would have likely been a heated race. McDonnell has recently been racked with scandal and has shown little interest in a Senate run even before that. This has allowed Warner to become complacent. There is some hope among people within Virginia that either Michael Farris, or Peter Snyder could give Warner a fight. What is more the one state that suffers the most from a Government Shutdown would be Virginia. If we can blame a shutdown on Dems ( I know difficult but not impossible) than we have a line of attack against Warner. Warner is beholden to his constituents over the next year, and they will not be happy he shut down the govt. in order to protect this increasingly unpopular law.
It is important to note that Defunding is not repeal. Defunding only works for a year until the next appropriations bill is up for a vote. Dems will not be voting to get rid of the ACA but to postpone it. For the same reason that these Democrats might be willing to vote to Defund ( with a lot of outside pressure) they might be willing to vote to Delay. Which is the strategy the GOP will use should Defund fail.
THE ONLY WAY this works is if we started melting some phones over the next week, so if any of these Democrats are your Senator call them.