House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s narrow 220-215 win late Saturday for her version of Obamacare can be reversed if Republicans play hardball. That means turning up the heat on the 16 pro-Pelosi Obamacare Democrats from moderate and conservative-leaning districts carried by Sen. John McCain in 2008.
These 16 Democrats will have to vote again when a Senate-House conference report is presented for final consideration, assuming the Senate approves its own version of Obamacare. Republicans must go all out now in helping those 16 Democrats understand that their conference committee report vote will be their last chance to redeem themselves with their constituents, growing majorities of whom passionately oppose Obamacare.
There may only be a few weeks before an Obamacare conference report comes up, so the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Republican National Committee had better get cracking.
First, as The Examiner’s Hugh Hewitt suggested Monday, the NRCC should establish a campaign fund designated solely to bankroll opponents of the 16 pro-Pelosi Obamacare Democrats. As Hewitt wrote, “Stapling Saturday’s vote to these congressmen will not only give them reason to reverse their positions next time, it will also give the country an opportunity to vote with their wallets.”
The NRCC told The Examiner that Hewitt’s idea is being “actively considered.” Let the stapling begin now.
At the same time, the NRSC should establish a similar fund on the Senate side with the promise that all funds contributed to it will go to unseat red- and purple-state senators who vote for cloture or otherwise enable Obamacare to pass the Senate.
Finally, if Michael Steele wants to make the RNC a genuine player, he will guarantee a dollar-for-dollar match for every donation received by the special NRCC and NRSC funds.
Democrats who ignored the groundswell of opposition to Obamacare and voted for the Pelosi bill face big trouble, said David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union. “They’re betting that by the time election rolls around, they’ll get away with it,” he told The Examiner. Pelosi “staked everything on getting a vote, and it barely got through even with that.”
Andy Roth of the Club for Growth agreed that the vote has made some Democrats especially good targets. “If there’s a Democrat who says he’s a conservative but votes with Nancy Pelosi, that’ll make it easier to unseat them,” he said. “Democrats who are vulnerable yet still voted for this have a target on their back.”
That message must be driven home over and over in coming weeks.