What Beau Biden's Surge Ahead Says About Health Care Reform

This article is from the archive of our partner .

When we last checked in with Beau Biden, Delaware's attorney general and the son of Vice President Joe Biden, he faced a difficult 2010 Senate race against Republican Congressman Michael Castle. In April, Castle, who enjoys wide popularity in Delaware, led Biden's presumed campaign by 21 points. A month ago, Castle was up by only 1 percent. But the most recent poll shows Beau Biden ahead by 5 percent.

Democrats have hinted that they plan to fight hard in the 2010 midterm elections, which will inevitably be seen as a referendum on the White House, and the race featuring the Vice President's son will be no exception. What national forces contributed to Beau Biden's pulling ahead in this hypothetical match-up? Some liberals think Castle's vote against health care reform legislation could be to blame.

  • Shifting Democrats, Defecting Independents  David Weigel reads the numbers. "[Biden]'s grabbed the lead in vote-rich New Castle County, built up a 41-point lead among Democratic voters, and moved to only 5 points behind Castle among independents. According to the pollster, the shift 'may be a result of negative publicity [Castle] received in the state after casting a 'no' vote for President Obama’s health care reform bill in the U.S. Congress.' Castle, who has thrived as a moderate Republican in an increasingly Democratic state, has been casting more partisan votes–against the stimulus package, for the Stupak amendment–that have been well-reported in Delaware."
  • Riding Democratic Policies  Matthew Yglesias lays on the sarcasm, implying that Biden is popular because he's a Democrat and the Democrats are enacting popular policies. "As everyone knows, when the Democratic president and Democratic congressional majorities press for the progressive legislation they campaigned on, it's very politically risky. Meanwhile, nobody faces any risks for obstructing that agenda. After all, these Democrats all got elected by accident, not because any of them or anything they stand for is popular," he writes. "Meanwhile, the right is trying to give Rep. Kendrick Meeks (D-FL) a fighting chance of making it to the senate by spiking Charlie Crist’s effort to secure the GOP nomination and an easy win."
  • Bad News For GOP  Talking Points Memo's Eric Kleefeld explains. "This is big news, considering that Castle has been in state politics for over 40 years and has never lost a race, and was seen as a moderate candidate whose entrance into the race gave a huge boost to the GOP."
  • 'Consequences of Opposing Reform'  Steve Benen predicts that Congressmen who, like Castle, oppose health care reform could face similar repercussions. "The conventional wisdom last week was that Democratic lawmakers from competitive districts/states would be faced with a difficult challenge: how would they explain their vote in support of health care reform? The political establishment largely overlooked the obvious inverse -- Americans have been waiting for health care reform for a long time, and there are some Republican lawmakers who'll struggle to explain their opposition to the bill." Benen suggests that the poll "offers an important counterweight to the notion that support for health care reform is necessarily an electoral loser, and opposition is automatically a ticket to victory."
  • 'Evidence To Support Health Care Reform'  Matt Compton at the Democratic Strategist insists it's all about Castle's health care vote. "When the House voted to pass the health care bill, cable news shows were filled with pundits talking about how many Democrats voted against the legislation to avoid taking a hit in their districts." But, "there's plenty of evidence to suggest that there's nothing to be gained from voting against health care reform. I think we can safely add this latest bit of data to the top of the stack."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.