The Pledge Robert Tracinski's plan to kill the bill to nationalize health care once and for all

Ted Keer's picture
Submitted by Ted Keer on Tue, 2009-12-15 03:54

The Pledge

Robert Tracinski

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 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.

Read the rest and see the pledge.

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Yeah, this idea seems to have

Ted Keer's picture

Yeah, this idea seems to have been about two weeks too late.


Frediano's picture

Notice what has happened in the Senate -- an almost impossible razor thin balancing of interests to eke out a concensus among 60 Democrats. There is no way that balance survives reconciliation with the House bill. If it moves at all in one direction or the other, I think they lose their 60 votes in the Sentate.

I mean, I hope they do.

Ben Nelson at top of your list. He's already indicated, as last man on the train, that the train that left the station better be the same train that arrives at the next station, or he's jumping off the train.

Speaking of the 14th Amendment, who provides us with 'equal protection' from our own Congress?



Brant Gaede's picture

One Dem comes out against and one Rep (from Maine) comes out for.


Here's the gist, with email addresses

Ted Keer's picture

Take the following message and send it by e-mail, fax, or snail mail to the senators whose votes it is most likely to sway. (I've given a list below of some of the top candidates.) Or even phone it in to the senators' office.

Dear Senator,
I think you know that the health care bill handed down to you by the Democratic leadership is a disaster and that it does not deserve your support. But I understand why you might be reticent about being the first Democrat in the Senate to go on record opposing the bill. You are afraid that the far left wing within your own party will blame you, and not Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama, for the failure of the bill. You are afraid that they could target you for defeat in the next election, either by backing a challenger in the primary or by convincing your Democratic "base" to sit home in the general election.

To compensate, I pledge that I will offer you my support in your next election. I will make a significant contribution of time or money, and I will give you my vote—if you take the lead as the first Democratic senator to declare unequivocal opposition to the whole health care bill.

I am not someone who would normally support you, but I am willing to do so because the health care issue is so important to me, and the bill being debated in the Senate is so bad, that it overrides any disagreement I have with you on other issues. If you are willing to stick your neck out to preserve my health-care freedom, you will have earned my enthusiastic support.

So that you know this pledge of support is serious, I give you my contact information below and encourage you to remind me when the time comes to make good on my promise of support.

Be sure when you send this to include your contact information, as proof that you are serious enough about this pledge to, in effect, put yourself on the senator's fundraising mailing list.

Here are some of the senators who are most likely to be persuaded by such a pledge.

Senator Ben Nelson (NE)
Chief of Staff: Tim Becker (
Washington, DC (202) 224-6551 / (202) 228-0012 fax
Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Chief of Staff: Elizabeth Burks (
Washington, DC (202) 224-4843 / (202) 228-1371 fax
Senator Mary Landrieu (LA)
Chief of Staff: Jane Campbell (
Washington, DC (202) 224-5824 / (202) 224-9735 fax
Senator Mark Warner (VA)
Chief of Staff: Luke Albee (
Washington, DC (202) 224-2023 / (202) 224-6295 fax
Or look for your senator here.

Imagine the impact of even a few thousand pledges of support—or better yet, tens of thousands. It could well be enough lift the pall of fear over a wavering senator and inspire him or her to finally put this health-care bill out of its misery.

To hell with emails

Jmaurone's picture

And to hell with voting for our freedoms. Tar-and-feathering is more appropriate for Democratic chicken-shits.

That's fine, but Tracinski's

Ted Keer's picture

That's fine, but Tracinski's plan requires you send only a few emails, not 60+.

Interesting idea...

Jmaurone's picture

but I have a better one: declare clear and unequivocal opposition to the whole bill, and you won't be tarred-and-feathered and run out of town. But here's the catch: we'll only spare the first Democratic senator to declare clear and unequivocal opposition to the whole bill.

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