by David Safier
I posted about a Howard Dean interview where he said,
option, it won’t be health care reform, and we’ll lose a tremendous
number of seats in 2010.
My point was, Giffords, Mitchell, Kirkpatrick and other Reps in swing districts need an Obama success on health care. That means a bill with a strong public option that actually does what it sets out to do.
The reason is simple: Obama's success in passing his agenda will have an enormous impact on his approval rating with the American people – and the approval rating of Congressional Democrats as well. When Swing District Democrats face the voters next year, those two factors will have a massive effect on whether they return to Congress.
History demonstrates that just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the boats left grounded when the tide goes out are the ones in the shallowest electoral water.
In elections, people do indeed vote for the personal qualities of the candidate. But every election campaign begins where people are — with a particular mix of predispositions toward one party or another that is impacted by how they think the respective parties are doing standing up for the things they care about.
In America today, Barack Obama is the symbolic embodiment of the Democratic Party for most Americans. His success at passing health care reform, energy legislation, bank re-regulation and achieving an economic recovery will have a big impact on how they think Democrats are doing — whether they start out with an inclination to vote Democratic, or to take another bet on the Republicans.
I've been known to criticize conservatives for acting in their limited self interest — if it's good for them, they don't give a damn about anyone else. I'm beginning to think the Blue Dogs are indulging in a misguided exercise in limited self interest, where their attempts to hold on to votes back home by "standing up to the President" could result in the voters rejecting them in 2010.