Democrats can't run from Obamacare. They shouldn't try.
So conservative Democrats are getting jittery and starting to contemplate jumping ship. Imagine my surprise:
This Friday, House Republicans are expected to vote on a proposal — championed by GOP Rep. Fred Upton — that would allow insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year, in response to the loss of plans that has taken place despite Obama’s vow otherwise. The White House points out that this will undermine the law.
Dem leadership aides have predicted that some House Dems will vote for the plan. And CNN’s Dana Bash stirred up chatter today when she Tweeted that “lots” of House Dems will vote for it if the White House has not put forth its own fix by the end of the week — in effect giving the White House a deadline. Obviously, “a lot” of Dems voting for this proposal would constitute another major Obamacare headache.
Naturally Democratic Senators are falling all over themselves with similar "fix" legislation of their own.
House Democratic leaders are privately warning rank and file Dems that a vote for this bill – and other anti-Obamacare legislation – could alienate leading Democratic donors heading into 2014, a source familiar with internal discussions tells me. “Votes against the Affordable Care Act are going to turn off a lot of these top national progressive donors,” the source said in characterizing the arguments.
There's nothing wrong with trying to fix the problems with Obamacare, of course. I don't think anyone ever thought it was going to be perfect (and oddly the rough roll-out could conceivably result in more cooperation with Republicans than we might have hoped.) So proposing real fixes to the system is a good and necessary thing. But I think we know that's not what's happening. In fact, all the fixes being currently proposed will actually make things worse.
Not that certain players won't benefit from all this chaos:
One group that won't benefit by campaigning against Obamacare are Democrats. And that hold true whether they voted for it or not.
Take a look at this list:
John Adler (NJ), Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Rick Boucher (VA), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Gene Chandler (Blue Dog-KY), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Artur Davis (AL), Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN), Chet Edwards (TX), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA), Larry Kissell (NC), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Lipinksi, Jr (IL), Stephen Lynch (MA), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Michael McMahon (NY), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA), Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID), Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), Ike Skelton (MO), Zack Space (Blue Dog-OH), John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN), Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS), and Harry Teague (NM).
That's a list of all the Democrats who voted against Obamacare in 2009. Afterwards a number of them looked at the polls and decided they needed to spend more time with their families and "retired." Their seats were won by Republicans. Davis and Melancon decided to run for higher office (and lost.) Altmire and Holden lost their jobs through Democratic primaries in 2012 --- and voting against Obamacare was an issue in both campaigns. As for the rest, with the exception of Barrow, Lipinski, Matheson, McIntyre, and Peterson, every last one of the remaining Blue Dogs on that list lost his seat in 2010 to a Republican. Voting against Obamacare didn't help them one little bit. And voting against it again by going along with more GOP sabotage won't help any Democrats in 2014 either.
Democrats cannot run away from this. They shouldn't even try. In fact, if they're worried about keeping their seats they need to convince their constituents to hang in there and explain to them how the reforms will end up being a net plus for them in the long run. Every Democrat in the country has Obamacare wrapped around them very tightly whether they like it or not. So they'd better do everything in their power to make sure it works.