Anti-Health Care Democrats Face a Rough Year

Behold the least popular men and women of Capitol Hill

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Congressional Democrats who voted against health care reform could have a tough year ahead. While gearing up reelection campaigns for November, they face the prospect of running against health care--the chief legislative accomplishment of their party this year. Democratic organizations, including party leadership and key interest groups like labor organizations, may be less than eager to fund those campaigns. In especially hot water are the five House Democrats who voted in favor of health care last year, then switched their votes to "no" this year.

  • When Liberals Attack  The Hill's Aaron Blake says some moderate Democrats have to be more worried about the left flank of their own party than they do about Republicans. "Over the last five days, potentially vulnerable members have drawn primary challenges, big-name liberal opposition, the wrath of abortion-rights groups and unions and blowback from crucial voting blocs."
  • Why Vote-Switchers Are Doomed  Politico's Jonathan Martin notes that "having already supported health care once, the members will still be attacked by Republicans for the original vote and will now face additional anger from their own political base for opposing the final version of the historic bill that is now law." With the White House willing to withhold support for the five members of Congress who switched their votes from "yes" to "no," they could be in real trouble.
  • This Is Obama Building Influence  Liberal blogger John Aravosis suggests that, by getting tough on Democrats who voted against him, Obama shows Congress that refusal to support his agenda has consequences. "And that, my friends, is what a President can do to influence legislation on the Hill."
  • Rewarding Health Care Supporters  ABC News' Rick Klein surveys the effort by Democratic leaders to reward health care supporters, often with big ad buys in their home districts. By showing how much good they can do Democrats who fall in line, the DNC and other groups are making life that much colder for Democrats who voted against health care. "There's offense, and there's taking offense."
  • Clearing The Ranks The Awl's Choire Sicha narrates, "Basically Nancy Pelosi is going from office to office and banging a shoe on each of their desks while everyone else is out finding better Democrats to run against them. (This is going to be the longest year ever for Michael Arcuri, D-NY, [who opposed health care].) Also, this is AWESOME."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.