Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Dozen Blue Dogs Block Insurance Reform

By Tom Daley
2008 Democratic candidate
U.S. House of Representatives,
TX 3th Congressional District
Last night, the President, in a blockbuster of a speech, reminded us that we all agree on the need for health insurance reform. He's right. Other than a few wing nuts on the Blogosphere and FOX, every one agrees that health insurance reform is badly needed. And in all polls--ALL POLLS--large majorities of the American people agree.

So what's stopping us?

The House of Representatives is ready to pass a strong, deficit-neutral bill. But as usual, it's the Senate that stands in the way. But it's not the entire Senate. In fact, an easy majority of Senators are on board. But as we've all come to know, either through 6th grade civics class or recent news stories, for all practical purposes, it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass any substantive legislation.

I'll leave the details of the civics lesson to others. But what this means is that a simple majority won't do the trick--we need 60 Senators. Republicans continue to hide behind the numeric Democrat majority in the Senate by effectively saying, "If you want reform, then you've got the votes: go do it."

Exactly who in the Senate is blocking insurance reform?

The 12 blue dogs listed below. That's all. And here's where the most egregious antidemocratic effect lies: The Democrat Senators who are blocking reform represent barely 16% of the American population!

Here's the honor roll along with the population of the state (in millions)
  1. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), pop 0.967 (more about his "framework" tomorrow)
  2. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), pop 6.376
  3. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), pop 6.549
  4. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), pop 0.873
  5. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), pop 0.641
  6. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), pop 4.410
  7. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), pop 3.501
  8. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), pop 2.855
  9. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), pop 18.328
  10. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) , pop 1.783
  11. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), pop 2.855 (be sure not to count AR twice!!)
  12. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), pop 3.790
That's right. Senators representing barely 16% of the American population are blocking insurance reform for 100% of the nation.

Once again, I urge you to keep writing letters, phone banking, and doing what you do. But direct it to those folks on the list above. They are the only people who stand between us and comprehensive insurance reform. That's it: TWELVE DEMOCRATS ARE BLOCKING COMPREHENSIVE REFORM.

Don't blame FOX "news" for spreading lies (they do, but we have to progress in spite of that).

Don't blame tea-baggers for their Klanish histrionics (it's an apt description, but they are side show freaks).

Don't blame Republican House members like Sam Johnson, Pete Sessions, or the rest of the North Texas delegation (they are irrelevant).

It's just 12 dogs who need to be heeled in and made to behave like the progressives they pretend to be at election time.

Last night, in what is probably the most substantive and powerful speech I've ever heard from any president, Pres. Obama rejoined the fight with fierce determination. Let's follow up by hammering on the last bastion defending the status quo: The Dozen Dogs.

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