"Arm-twisting?" Not exactly, but pressure is still pressure
As health care lobbying heats up, some members are getting calls from President Barack Obama, like the three Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) got in the past two weeks.
“He believes that the economy will turn around, that people will be in a better position to judge the effects of this bill later on, that while it may not be a politically popular vote today, a year or two or three from now, it will be viewed as something the American people want,” said Altmire, who voted no last time on health reform but is undecided now.
Others in the House said the lobbying can be much less friendly. Aides to conservative Democratic lawmakers describe intense pressure tactics, including one who said his office has received calls from donors. Those calls are taken as a thinly veiled threat to withhold future financial support if the member doesn’t vote as the donor wishes.
“We’re having donors, even donors outside of our district, that are being called and asked to urge support” for the bill, said a senior aide to one conservative Democrat, who indicated the tactics could backfire on the health care bill. “If you want to play Chicago-style politics, and that’s what this is, then we will come out firmly against it.”
The aide also targeted the Democratic National Committee, where Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile used her Twitter account to encourage primary challenges to Democrats who vote against the bill.
“If a handful of Democrats decide to defeat this bill, they deserve to get a primary challenge to defend the status quo and insurance industry,” Brazile tweeted.
The White House said no one there is telling donors to call members, and Brazile later clarified that she wasn’t speaking for the DNC.
Nonetheless, the comments fueled frustration among moderate Democrats who believe their party is working against them.
Rep. Chet Edwards, a Texas Democrat who remains a firm “no,” said he’s getting calls spurred by Organizing for America, the president’s unofficial outreach arm. He said he’s fine with constituents expressing their opinions — and even with the right of OFA to engage — but noted of the Obama organization, “It’s clear to me they could care less about my political future.”
With the fate of Obama’s top legislative goal in the balance, the president and his Cabinet are doing everything in their power to help Speaker Nancy Pelosi lock down the 216 votes she needs to get health care out of the House — and very likely onto his desk. But it will take plenty of work by both to get there.
Folks, keep up the calls to these fence-sitters, and remind them who they work for. In fact, remind all of these Democrats -- whether a "yes" or a "no" vote on this bill -- who they work for.
They don't work for the president.
They don't work for Nancy Pelosi.
They don't work for Harry Reid.
They work for you, the people. I don't care if you live in Oregon, or Colorado, or Kansas. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Congress, and the president work for you. Your location doesn't matter. Keep calling them and telling them that if they support this bill, you'll work your butt off to make sure they're unemployed come November. Sure a few will escape our electoral axe, but many won't.
The tactics being used should surprise no one. These are the tactics that Barry is more than familiar with (being a former community organizer), and he has no problem using to achieve his "enduring legacy." This legacy isn't what America wants, and Americans know it will do far more damage to this nation than good. The phone calls being made by the White House spewing the talking points just can't be swallowed.
If this is passed it won't help the economy. It'll virtually kill it. The economy won't turn around with the taxes imposed in the wake of its passage. The taxes go into effect immediately, but changes in care won't come around until 2013. Kind of idiotic, isn't it? Imagine if you bought a car or house this way. "No, you can't take it home/move in now. You can begin paying for it, but you'll have to wait three years before you take ownership of it."
Yeah, that would go over as well as a turd in a punchbowl.
Speaking of which, have I mentioned how bad this bill is? I know I'm not writing as often as I used to but I do want to stress to readers that this bill sucks. It really does. It won't lead to any sort of reform, at least not the sort we need in the health care/health insurance industry. Call your representatives/senators -- 202-224-3121 or 877-762-8762. Those are the switchboard numbers. Call them. E-mail them. Melt down their phones and computers, and tell them -- REMIND them -- that the majority of their constituents don't want this.
The president can apply pressure through his means, and we can do so back at them. AoSHQ is reporting that based on the whip count they don't have the votes. Get on the phones and make sure it stays that way.
Not now. Not today. Not ever, forever NO!. Tell them that when you get them on the phones.