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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fighting within the Democratic Party

What’s the old saying – “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” Well, it appears the Democratic Party is doing just that. They hold majorities in both chambers so technically they shouldn't have any problem passing their socialized legislation. But they are and for that we are grateful.
The House seems to be having the most problems. They hold a 256 seat majority but are apparently divided into four groups.

The first group consists of 52 Conservative Democrats. They are nicknamed “Blue Dog Democrats” and tout themselves as fiscally conservative. They are fighting for small businesses and fiscal responsibility when it comes to the health care bill.

The second group consists of 57 Liberal Democrats. They are also known as progressive democrats. This is your far-left group who see socialized medicine as the only way.

The third group consists of 20 Pro-life Democrats. They are against using taxpayer money to fund abortions. All amendments regarding excluding funding have been voted down.

The fourth group is anyone that’s left.

On the eve of August recess, the Blue Dog democrats on the Energy and Commerce committee, who were hold outs for weeks on health care reform caved. The Blue Dogs were concerned about the cost of the health care plan which currently looks to run about $1.1 trillion as of this writing. The "deal" reached by the liberal committee members and four of the blue dogs included reducing costs (they managed to cut cost by $100 billion), not forcing anyone to go into a government run insurance program, and wait and vote on the bill in September. Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID) said the “deal” doesn’t go far enough and won’t win support upon the remaining blue dogs.

Now let’s look at the Progressive Democrats. Furious that the House reached a deal with the Blue Dogs, Rep. Lynn Woolsey said "We have compromised and we can compromise no more…We do not support this…I think they have no idea how many people are against this. They can't possibly be taking us seriously if they're going to bring this forward." Rep. Jerry Nadler said “[Rep. Henry] Waxman made a deal that is unacceptable…We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn't include a robust public option, and this plan doesn't have a robust public option". In fact they have sent a letter to the Speaker warning her that they will vote against any bill that includes deals with the Blue Dogs.

And now for the smallest of the groups, the pro-life democrats. As of now, there is no provision in the bill that state taxpayer money will not go to fund abortions. In a letter to the Speaker dated June 25, the pro-life democrats expressed their concern stating “we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan…By ensuring that any health care package will not fund or require funding for abortions, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly supported reform package."

Anyone who is opposed to a government run public option will now be a target in the 2010 election. As the left wing liberals will try and get rid of the conservative democrats in favor of the more far left democrats. Rep. Maxine Waters, who criticized Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for recruiting conservative democrats in the past two elections, is now using a phrase by President Obama’s former pastor, “the chickens are coming home to roost.” This same group is also upset with the Senate democrats on the Finance committee who have dropped plans for an employer mandate and public option.

So let’s look at the numbers. The House has 256 democrats. So far they have alienated the 20 pro-life democrats leaving them 236 (still enough to pass a bill). However, since making a “deal” with the blue dogs they have now alienated the 57 progressive democrats. Now they are left with 179 democrats and that’s only if all 52blue dogs agree to the changes and that doesn’t look like it will happen. So if these 77 pro-life and progressive democrats vote with the republicans who will not vote for a government take over of health care then we have a yea vote of 179 and a no vote 255.

Thank goodness for division in the Democratic Party.

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