Next week the Democrats' leader in the United States Senate, Harry Reid, is going to try and open debate on Obamacare. The switchboard at the Senate --202-224-3121-- should be ringing non-stop as a result.
The motion Reid will offer to open debate on the bill requires 60 votes to succeed. Thus far no Republican has indicated a willingness to vote yes, so every single Democrat will have to agree to move the monstrosity forward. When they do, each and every Democrat will forever "own" whatever comes out the other end of the legislative sausage factory.
This first cloture vote should thus weigh heavily on at least four Democrats who face the voters in November, 2010.
Evan Bayh of Indiana, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas all face the voters in 51 short weeks. Their states range from purple to deep red, and their electorates oppose Obamacare.
Other Democrats asking for another term next year come from safer states --Chris Dodd in Connecticut, Kristen Gillibrand in New York and Ron Wyden in Oregon, for example-- but when waves build and roll out, even relatively safe seats get washed away.
Vice President Joe Biden has to be concerned that the seat he thought he left for his son Beau will fall instead to Republican Congressman Mike Castle, and Democrats in Illinois have to worry that their open seat will be lost as well as the voter's fury with the unnecessary and wildly expensive assault of seniors an American medicine continues to advance.
Even some die-hard supporters of socialized medicine like California's Boxer and Nevada's Reid must entertain private thoughts of the joy of having their colleagues block the bill. The hapless Arlen Specter, an almost certain loser either in the primary or the general next year, probably doesn't even know what he thinks.
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