Jane Norton, Pat Toomey, Mike Castle, Rob Portman, Mark Kirk, and Rob Simmons are all watching Harry Reid's push for Obamacare with great interest and mixed emotions.
Each of these declared candidates for the United States Senate --frontrunners for the GOP nomination in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois and Connecticut respectively-- are aware of the backlash building against Democrats across the country as the Obama-Pelosi-Reid lurch to the left first alarms and then outrages millions of Americans. They know their candidacies pick up strength with every day's news of another jump to the left by D.C. Democrats. But they also know the country's economy is suffering even as their political prospects improve because of the manifest incompetence and ideological extremism of the Democrats.
(You can contribute to Norton here, Toomey here, Castle here, Portman here, Kirk here and Simmons here.)
While we don't know how the final vote will go on Obamacare or even remotely what a final bill will look like, we know for certain that every version slashes Medicare benefits and forces large premium hikes for seniors living on fixed incomes from reduced portfolios and stagnant social security payments.
We know for certain that every version of Obamacare is layered with tax hikes, both direct and indirect.
We know for certain that doctors will be quitting or retiring by the tens of thousands if any version of Obamacare passes.
And we know that every version of the public plan that lives on despite across the board opposition will put the country on the glide path to Canada-style single payer medicine.
Republican candidates like those named above as well as whomever emerges as the frontrunner in Arkansas to face Democrat Blanche Lincoln, in Indiana to face Democrat Evan Bayh, in California to face Democrat Barbara Boxer and in Nevada to face Harry Reid himself will all be campaigning on the votes made in the next few weeks, especially the vote to bring Reid's bill on to the floor and open debate.
Democrats like Colorado's Michael Bennet, Indiana's Bayh and Arkansas' Lincoln may try to hide behind an eventual "no" vote on some final version of Obamacare, but their vote to open the debate will be the vote that will define them for the next year. Bayh, Bennet and Lincoln each hold the power to block Obamacare and its disastrous impact to American medicine and to seniors' quality of life. When they vote to begin debate on Obamacare, they are voting to cut Medicare for the hundreds of thousands of seniors in their state and to raise the taxes of every voter in their state. They won't be able to camouflage this hard fact no matter how much dust they kick up in the next 12 months. Every Democrat in the Senate has the power to block Obamacare. It is Bennet's bill, Bayh's bill, and Lincoln's bill if they vote yes on opening debate.
A similar stark political reality faces every so-called "Blue Dog Democrat" in the House. The Congressional races in 2010 will be defined by the Obama-Pelosi-Reid lurch to the left. Any candidate with a "D" behind his or her name is running with a picture of the president on one shoulder and of the Speaker of the House on the other. Pelosi doesn't care that she is endangering the jobs of dozens of her so-called colleagues. She is betting that no matter how great the wipe-out next fall, she'll survive as speaker by a handful of votes.
The imperiled Democratic incumbents don't have to accept such a fate. Each one of them can stop the train that is headed towards their own personal cliff. Evan Bayh must recall 1980 when the Republican wave washed his father out of the Senate. So great is the building antipathy to Obamacare and the fiscal recklessness of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda that even "safe" senators like Bayh feel the growing voter revolt. Chris Dodd in Connecticut and Barbara Boxer feel it as well but cannot do anything but drive further and further to the left, an all-in strategy that is dictated by long records they could never escape.
But not Bayh, Bennet and Licnoln. They can not only get off the Obamacare train. They can stop it.
One way to send a message to the Democrats is with a half-dozen donations to the Republican candidates listed above. Every one of them opposes Obamacare. Toomey is the most conservative of the bunch and Mark Kirk the most moderate, but they all oppose Obamacare. Send $10 to each, or even more if you can afford it. Tea parties and marches put the Democrats on notice. A surge of small contributions to a variety of candidates will turn up the heat.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member