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Linz's New Book
Who Should Be the Republican Nominee?
Total votes: 8
The Pledge Robert Tracinski's plan to kill the bill to nationalize health care once and for all
Submitted by Ted Keer on Tue, 2009-12-15 03:54
The biggest mystery about the health-care bill is why we're still debating it. By any normal political calculation, it should have been dead months ago. No piece of legislation on this scale, a reform that affects every American, has ever been passed by Congress without public opinion behind it and significant bipartisan support. Yet this bill is now unpopular by a very wide margin—61-36 in the latest poll—and it has not attracted any significant backing from Republicans.
All it would take would be for one Democratic senator to come out and say that it's over, that he won't vote for the bill and it won't pass. So why hasn't anyone done that yet?
The answer is that the Democrats sitting on the fence are not just afraid of the small-government "tea party" types on the right, or the independent voters who have swung decisively against the bill. They are afraid of the Democratic "base" on the left. No one wants to be singled out as the senator who killed the most cherished item on the left's agenda. No one wants to be the first Democratic senator to come out against the bill, for fear that he or she will then be targeted by the far-left fanatics from the MoveOn.org-Huffington Post-Daily Kos faction.
As a matter of practical politics, this is a rational fear, so to counteract it I have a modest proposal. Those of us who oppose the bill have tried threatening Democratic senators with a negative incentive: the withdrawal of our votes and our active support for their opponents. How about enticing them with a positive incentive? Let's pledge to give our support to the re-election campaign of the first Democratic senator to come out against the health-care bill. If enough of us make that pledge, it would counteract the political threat from the far left.
The deal is this: come out against the health-care bill, and we will pledge to donate time or money to your next re-election campaign, and those of us who live in your state will give you our votes. We will do it because of your stand on this one bill, regardless of any disagreement we may have with your other policies.
But here's the catch: we'll only do it for the first Democratic senator to declare clear and unequivocal opposition to the whole bill. You can't earn it by opposing one provision but implying that you would support the bill with minor amendments. And you can't earn it by jumping on the bandwagon after another Democrat takes the heat by being the first to oppose the bill. No, our support goes only to the Democrat who sticks his or her neck out to kill this bill.
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