If There’s An Obamacare Vote On Sunday, I Think The Dems Lose It

I’ve been watching the flow of the blow in the House really carefully and despite what people are saying, I don’t think they have the votes. Moreover, let me go out on a limb here: People are saying that there’s going to be a vote on Sunday. If it happens, I think Obamacare fails.

Why? Well, for one thing, going by what I think is the best whip count out there, at The Hill, the Dems don’t look to be that close.

According to the Hill, the whip count, with leaners, is 169 “yes,” 36 “no,” and 49 “undecided.” Out of those numbers, there are 9 Democrats who voted “yes” last time and have switched to “no.” There are 2 Democrats who voted “no” last time and switched to “yes” and one of them is Dennis Kucinich, who’s an obviously unusual no vote in that he was a far left winger, not a blue dog. Out of the remaining “undecided votes,” 8 of them are middle-of-the-roaders who voted “no” the first time around.

Moreover, the conventional wisdom about all the undecided voters actually being “yes” votes who don’t want to say “yes” yet is probably wrong. Sure, maybe half of them may fall into that category. But, there: is a significant number of undecided votes who are as likely to end up voting “no” as “yes.” For example (* means supports Stupak language, (N) or (Y) is in regard to their vote on the health care bill that passed the House the first time),

Jason Altmire (Pa.) * (N) Sounding more like a no than he was last week. On March 16, Altmire told Fox Business Network that he has major problem with Democrats’ apparent “deem and pass” strategy, calling it “wrong.” Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told McClatchy Newspaperrs he is targeting Altmire, who many view as key to passage. Voted no in committee and on floor, but bottom line is his yes vote is gettable

John Boccieri (Ohio) * (N) In a bad sign for the White House, Boccieri did not appear with President Barack Obama at his March 15 speech in Ohio. Boccieri, a GOP target, told Foxnews.com, “I’m not afraid to cast a tough vote…” Clyburn has publicly said he is leaning on Boccieri, whose vote could go a long way in determining whether healthcare reform will pass

Michael Capuano (Y) Wanted to be a senator, but doesn’t trust the Senate. TPM reported that Capuano is leaning no. In an e-mail to supporters, Capuano said he has many problems with Senate measure

Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) * (Y) GOP target. Her yes vote could be key to passage. Strong backer of Stupak language

Brad Ellsworth (Ind.) * (Y) Senate hopeful who is big supporter of Stupak language

Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) * (Y) Voted with leadership first time around, but doesn’t toe the party line. Wants Stupak language but that’s not a deal breaker. Voted yes during Budget Committee markup. Likely to move to lean yes category soon (Hawkins’ note: She also bombed the Senate abortion language last night)

Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.) (N) President Obama urges her to vote yes in the Oval Office, according to March 16 AP report

Betsy Markey (Colo.) (N) Was a late no last time. In early March, Markey declined to be interviewed by Denver Post on her position on bill. Likely target for Democratic leaders

Alan Mollohan (W.Va.) * (Y) In November, seat was considered safe. Now, he’s in a tight race

Glenn Nye (Va.) (N) In toss-up race

John Tanner (Tenn.) * (N) House deputy whip not running for reelection, but he still will need to be convinced to get to yes. Voted no in committee and on floor

Pelosi can’t really afford any defections out of this block, plus she still has another 38 undecided votes as well, some of whom will undoubtedly have to end their political careers to support this bill.

Now, you may be wondering: why are all these people still undecided at this point? Here’s a couple of theories, both of which seem pretty sound:

Rounding up the votes for health care has also proven difficult. House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn told McClatchy Newspapers that final consideration of the bill may not occur until Easter (April 4) or later. He is dealing with dozens of members who refuse to commit to a firm position in hopes their silence will force the leadership to pull the bill and move on to other issues. “Just say nothing,” is how one Democratic staffer explained the strategy being taken by many members. “Maybe it will just go away, and we can avoid a tough vote this close to the election.”

(Republicans) believe that no Democratic lawmaker who is definitely planning to vote yes on the bill would want the activists on the left, in this case exemplified by Firedoglake, to believe he or she is still undecided. Why take a beating for nothing?

“This is a window that we haven’t seen on other votes,” says the GOP source. “It’s not foolproof, but it’s telling, when you understand that from the Democrats’ perspective, this is being driven by the left. They are the only ones who still support the bill.”

Now, are all the undecideds really “no votes?” Certainly not. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if a significant chunk of them are. Why not just come out? Bart Stupak has had liberal death threats aimed at his children. Liberal groups are threatening primaries. Better to wait until the last minute, skip the vote at all if possible, and vote “no” with a lot of other Democrats if it isn’t, so it’s not as easy to be picked out of a crowd. That’s why we’re supposedly 3 days out from a vote and there are nearly 50 Democrats, almost all of whom will be needed to pass the bill, who aren’t taking a position.

There are no guarantees in life and the Democrats’ mob style government may yet threaten, bribe, and cheat their way to a bill. But, at this point, the odds are still heavily against them.

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