August 13, 2009

Blue Dogs On the Edge

Once again doing the job that the mainstream American media refuses to do, the Financial Times has an article about two wavering "Blue Dog" Democrats who are both saying that they could not vote for the House version of ObamaCare in its current form.

If there was any doubt that the TEA Partiers are having a profound effect on the current debate over socialized medicine, this should put an end to it. Just a couple of days ago the junior senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin, got an earful at a townhall meeting he held in Towson - a northern suburb of Baltimore:

Towson is a very liberal area - especially in relation to the far more conservative congressional district that Frank Kratovil, one of the Blue Dogs mentioned in the article, represents. Kratovil won in 2008 by a margin of only 3,000 votes in a traditionally Republican-held district. That puts him on the razor's edge of electability in 2010: he can't afford to be on the wrong side of his constituents. There's no doubt that the massive turnout at Cardin's townhall, someone who Marylanders know is likely going to vote for ObamaCare no matter what, has to have an impact on a vulnerable House freshman without Cardin's political muscle.

The question someone like Kratovil is likely asking himself today is: If a statewide Democratic Party potentate like Cardin can't even maintain control over one of his own townhall meetings, what are the 2010 prospects for a guy representing a conservative district in the face of this level of public anger?

It's not just a matter of being heard: there is a real opportunity for TEA Partiers and others who oppose socialized medicine to actually affect not just the ultimate structure of the House bill, but whether one is passed at all. The pressure is being turned up to 11: it's just a matter of how invested politicians like Kratovil are in having a future in elected office beyond November 2010.

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