I was in the FOX News green room last night with Karl Rove, waiting to go on the Hannity Show. I asked Karl whether he thought we had a chance to defeat the health care bill. We both agreed that we did.
As this bill enters its next phase in the Senate, let’s all remember that the Democrats need to win every vote. We only need to win one to kill the bill.
The debate in the Senate takes place against a backdrop characterized by two contradictory forces: public opinion is moving more and more against this bill in particular and Obama in general and at the same time, the Democratic leadership in Congress is ratcheting up the pressure on its members to stay in line and back the bill.
One top Democratic strategist conceded to me that “we are losing the message war.” In fact, he implicitly conceded that they have given up on the message war and “are concentrating on holding our guys in line.”
In the long run that’s great for us! It means that if they eventually do pass this bill, it will be a big nail in their coffin for the 2010 election…but we can still beat this bill!
The key is to force the moderate Democratic Senators to demand amendments that move the bill so far to the right that the House can’t pass it. By putting restrictions on the use of funds for abortion, modifying or eliminating the public option, reducing the subsidies for insurance premiums, cutting the penalties for not buying insurance, reducing the Medicare cuts, modifying the cuts in doctor reimbursement, cutting back the Medicaid mandate to expand coverage, and moving in a number of other areas, we can so modify the bill that the House liberals won’t accept it.
We also need to buy time by fighting on each of these amendments in the Senate.
Meanwhile, we need to really pour it on in the message war. We have the public opposing this bill by 38-56 in the Rasmussen Poll of last week. If we can move those numbers to something more like 30-60, we will create irresistible political pressure. Politicians seeking re-election are not made to withstand pressure like that!
If, eventually, the bill — in some form — does pass the Senate, the more we have forced moderate amendments, the more the conference committee will be a long and bloody deadlock.
Obama is alienating the left by sending more troops to Afghanistan. The left will not take kindly to the moderate amendments the Senate will likely add. And the longer the bill remains in conference committee, the more public pressure can build to kill it…and the closer the 2010 elections loom. The more his popularity on the left ebbs, the more liberal Senators and Congressmen will refuse to go along with modifications of the bill.
But — we have got to do our share. Even if you have contributed already, please give more to the League of American Voters so we can continue to run ads in swing states. Thanks to your donations, we have run almost $2 million of media in swing states and have moved the poll numbers significantly.
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