McConnell's Repeal Vote Rallies the Base

By Chris Good

Mitch McConnell has struck while the iron is hot.

One day after federal District Judge Rodger Vinson ruled that the entire Democratic health care law is unconstitutional, McConnell told his GOP colleagues that he will force a vote on repealing it, bringing it up as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.

It's a move that's already rallying the GOP base, which just got done rallying around the House's Jan. 19 repeal vote, having rallied around it during the entire 2010 midterm election season.

Some of the most prominent tea party political groups are telling their members to get excited and call Democratic senators.

Tea Party Express, which uses the Twitter handle @OurCountryPAC, tweeted Tuesday afternoon: "McConnell bringing the #Repeal vote 2 the Senate floor today. Please call Nelson (NE), Manchin, McCaskill, and Testor now 2 vote yes! #tcot"

Sen. Jim DeMint emailed supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund, which raised money for Tea Party Senate candidates in Republican primaries last year, urging them to defeat Democrats up for re-election if they don't support repeal:

There are a number of Democrats up for re-election in 2012 who need to hear from the American people right now. These senators include Jon Tester (D-MT), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jim Webb (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). They may not want to listen but it's important that they know you will repeal them at the ballot box if they don't help us repeal the bill.

FreedomWorks, the group chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, tweeted Tuesday afternoon "URGENT: Call your Senators now on ObamaCare repeal. http://is.gd/IGEg7O" after tweeting the phone numbers of seven target Democratic senators, urging supporters to call.

"This is very urgent.  Call your LOCAL offices for your United States Senator.  Tell them to oppose any effort to table these bills and support the amendments that are offered to repeal Obamacare," Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips wrote in a blog post that was e-mailed to TPN supporters. "The obvious question is, can this work.  The answer is yes."

Repeal votes are good for the GOP's support base. They gin up excitement and allow activists to do what they do best--take action--around a cause they've supported for almost a year. They allow groups to get in touch with their supporters, asking them to make calls and, as is often the case, offering them opportunities to donate money.

That's what we saw when the House voted on repeal 12 days ago. Now, it's time for round two.

Of course, there are still only 47 Republican senators, so the odds of a repeal passing the Senate are basically zero, and Reid has signaled that while he will call the amendment up for a procedural vote, Democrats will vote it down without much fuss.

Thumbnail image credit: Getty Images

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http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/02/mcconnells-repeal-vote-rallies-the-base/70612/