Jay Cost has a great piece on today at the RealClearPolitics-HorseRaceBlog. His post concerns the internal rifts in the Democratic party and the failure of the White House to recognize them. Jay created a map (great visual) marking the offices of the House leadership and Congressmen involved in the health-care debate. The majority are coastal liberals while the majority of Dems from districts that McCain won are from the South. The liberals (think Waxman & Pelosi) wrote the bills so of course liberals and progressives approve.
…the moderate and conservative Democrats – whose votes are needed for passage yet who run the risk of defeat next fall should the broad middle of the country sour on the reform efforts – weren’t fully consulted, and don’t like the bills. Hence, the internal friction – which corresponds pretty well with age-old sectional divisions..
Jay lists several reasons why the WH should have seen this rift coming but I am going to list two:
For the months between November and January, we were treated to endless comparisons of Obama to the great presidents of the days of yore. One of them was Franklin Roosevelt. Question: who stopped the New Deal dead in its tracks after 1938? It wasn’t the Republicans alone. It was Southern Democrats working in alliance with the Republicans. Who are the marginal members standing between Obama and a health care bill…Southern Democrats!…
Fourteen of these seats changed hands in either 2006 or 2008 when Emanuel was in a leadership position in the House. Is this not a sufficiently representative sample to know that there could be trouble?
As it is now, Southern, Conservative or Blue-Dog Democrats are in the perilous position of being damned if they do, damned if they don’t when it comes to the health-care bill. A “No” vote satisfies their constituents and keeps them in office but deepens the rift.