Picture this, you are U.S. Senator and a Democrat. You come from a moderate to conservative State. Your re-election is by no means a foregone conclusion. You saw what happened in ’94 and you know it can happen again. You also know that the country is enormously concerned with out of control spending and massive government encroachment. Regardless of the spin your colleagues post election, you know that the public just sent a message, knock it off. You sense the truth, backlash is building.
So now, as a Democrat Senator, you are faced with the House plan for a government takeover of healthcare. Nancy Pelosi had the luxury of allowing 39 of her colleagues in vulnerable districts to vote against the bill for cover. You will not be so lucky. Every single Democrat Senator will need to vote for the Senate version in order to get cloture. There is no get out of jail free card for you.
Conventional wisdom states that abortion is an issue in the House but not in the Senate but you know that conventional wisdom is completely wrong in this case. Abortion is everything. The House version of the bill had the Stupak amendment prohibiting federal funds for abortion. You know that such an amendment will not be introduced in the Senate. When the bill is being reconciled in conference, the Stupak amendment will likely be struck. In fact, over 40 pro-abortion reps in the house have said if it is not struck, they will vote against final passage. Unless it pays for abortion, there is no deal.
Conversely, the House bill passed only because of the Stupak amendment and then only by 3 votes. If the Stupak language is struck in conference, in all likelihood at least three of the 65 Dems ( and probably more) who voted for Stupak will bail on the final bill. It only takes a few.
So with abortion in, the bill is dead. Take it out and it is probably dead anyway. So why should I, a Democrat Senator up for re-election, vote for an unpopular bill that my opponent in 2010 will hang around my neck like a millstone when chances are it will fail when it goes back to the House? Answer? I shouldn’t and I won’t. The risk is too high. Best to let the thing die before ever being voted on in the Senate. I am not going to risk re-election by voting for this thing when it will never make final passage. No, not me. I think I will feign concern over the cost and such and maybe, just maybe, I will survive the backlash. Afterall, surviving is priority number one.
And that my friends is how Obamacare might die. Pray.