THE TREATMENT MARCH 4, 2010
The campaign to sway votes in the House is underway. A conservative group, the League of American Voters, has announced it will be running advertisements in the districts of 13 vulnerable Democrats who voted for health care reform in November. The goal is to pressure them into voting "no" on the Senate bill when it comes up, presumably later this month.
Here's the script of the ad, according to Politico:
Our Congressman [name] voted for Obama and Pelosi's healthcare takeover. Billions in Medicare cuts. Healthcare rationing. Big taxes on good insurance plans. America said slow down.
But now Pelosi and Obama are at it again, and they want [congressman name] as the deciding vote, in a last minute deal to take over your healthcare. Call [congressman name] and tell him to vote "No" on the Obama-Pelosi Plan.”
Believe it or not, I hope these House members pay close attention to the ad--because it's a vivid illustration of why changing votes is such a bad idea.
Just read that script again. But, this time, stop after the first paragraph. That's the ad conservatives will run against these members even if they change their votes. And it's still devastating.
On the other hand, if reform passes, then these House members can defend themselves by pointing to the newly passed health care reform law, hyping virtues like the prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, and asking why opponents of the law want to repeal it. Plus, of course, the House members won't look completely feckless for having spent a year debating a bill that never became law.
There's no way to know for sure how these things will play out. But it seems to me that House members who stick to their gun, pass the bill, and defend it will be in a much stronger place politically.