Let's have a look at the Blue Dog Senators who are bound to undermine any chance of seeing health care reform, at least this year, and compare them to how their respective Representatives voted on the House version. Kudos to this map for helping me out. And thanks to this link for adding additional information.
Max Baucus of Montana, already looking foolish for thinking he could woo Republicans to vote for anything brought forth under a Democratic congress, will likely vote against a public option bill. Minnesota has 3 Republicans and 5 Democrats in the House. One Democrat voted against the bill, Collin Peterson, who is a Blue Dog; McCain won his district in 2008. The others voted for.
Evan Bayh of Indiana is a Blue Dog so he's a likely candidate for voting against the bill. Indiana has 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans in the House. All 5 Democrats voted for the bill.
Maria Cantwell of Washington is a Blue Dog as well. Washington also has a 5 to 3 Democratic advantage in the House. Of those Democrats, only Brian Baird voted against the bill. Baird is not a Blue Dog and is in a district that went to Obama in 2008. Baird explains why he voted against the bill on his site.
Tom Carper of Delaware is a Blue Dog. Delaware has one Representative, Republican Michael Castle.
Kent Conrad of North Dakota is a Blue Dog. North Dakota has one Representative, Earl Pomeroy. He is a Democrat and he voted for the bill.
Dianne Feinstein of California is a Blue Dog. California has 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the House. All the Democrats voted for the bill.
Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is another Blue Dog. Of the 7 Representatives there, only one is a Democrat, Charlie Melancon, and he voted against. He is a Blue Dog as well and McCain won his district in 2008. It is worth noting that the lone Republican supporter of the bill, Anh Cao, is from Louisiana.
Superstar Joe Lieberman, "Independent" Blue Dog, hails from Connecticut. All 5 of Connecticut's Representatives are Democrats and all 5 voted for the bill, leaving Joe as the odd man out among his state's Congressional representation in terms of support of the reform bill.
Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is a Blue Dog. Arkansas's other Senator, Mark Pryor, is also a Blue Dog. Arkansas has 1 Republican and 3 Democrats. Democrat Mike Ross voted against the bill. He is a blue dog and his district went to McCain.
Bill Nelson of Florida is a Blue Dog. Florida has 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the House. Of those 10 Democrats, Allen Boyd and Suzanne Kosmas voted against the bill. Boyd is a Blue Dog. Both of their districts went McCain in 2008.
Ben Nelson is a Blue Dog from Nebraska. Nebraska has 3 Republican Representatives and that's it.
Ron Wyden of Oregon rounds out the Senatorial Blue Dogs. Oregon has 4 Democrats and 1 Republican. All the Democrats voted for the bill.
The Conclusions I draw from this:
Max Baucus, Tom Carper, Mary Landrieu, Bill Nelson and Ben Nelson are all conservative Democrats in very conservative states. They more or less have no choice but to remain skeptical of the public option at best or they will be replaced in their next elections. Its their jobs to represent their voters so you can make the argument that they are just living up to their end of the bargain of getting elected.
Evan Bayh, Maria Cantwell, Blanche Lincoln, and Mark Pryor are on the cusp. Their states seem to be split down the middle if not in favor of the public option. Therefore, if they were to vote against it, I think there would be a legitimate question as to whether they were serving the best interests of their voters or just their own interests.
Kent Conrad, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, and especially Joe Lieberman have absolutely no business voting against the bill if they think they are going to convince their voters to elect them again. North Dakota's other Senator is also a Democrat so Conrad will be alone in opposing the bill in his state if he does so. North Dakota seems to be too liberal to accept him opposing the bill. Its a similar story with California. Overwhelming Democratic support for the bill in the House, another Democratic Senator in Barbara Boxer who will clearly support the bill, and Feinstein left trying to cater to the minority conservatives of her state if she votes against. Ron Wyden's state, Oregon, also has a Democrat as its other Senator. The voters of Oregon clearly favor the Democratic platform and Wyden will be going against that to stand in the way of the bill.
And of course we have Joe Lieberman who is unpopular with pretty much everyone in his state. Complete support for the bill in the House. Chris Dodd is the other Senator. HEAVY support for the option in Connecticut. One struggles to find sane reasoning for Lieberman's sudden crusade against the reform bill. The most logical conclusion is that he's catering to his wife, who works as a health insurance lobbyist, but who really knows? One thing is for sure; he is likely in his last term as Senator from Connecticut.
So, we have 5 Senators who can vote against the bill and probably remain in office, 4 who run a risk no matter what they choose, and 4 who may be signing their walking papers by voting against. Of course, the only one threatening to actually aid a Republican filibuster, Lieberman, is also the one who by far has the least business pretending to be against the bill for noble reasons. It will be interesting to see how the above Senators decide to act in the coming weeks of bill debate and how they reconcile that with their voters' wants. Note: its worth mentioning that most Blue Dog districts are probably in support of the public option, meaning the cases where Blue Dog Representatives voted against it might have been less than fair representation.
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