The agony over Obamacare continues. As Jeffrey Anderson reminds us at NRO, only the House of Reps. matters now. If the House passes the Senate version of Obamacare, then America get the Senate version of Obamacare. Period. Who really cares if the tax on "cadillac" health care plans begins in 2018 or 2016 or 2015 or whatever?
Based on simple self-preservation, it should be impossible for Obama to switch any of the votes of House Democrats who voted no on Obamacare to yes. Most come from districts who have right-leaning constituencies. The liberal blog memes seem to be that that voting yes on Obamacare would a) get out the liberal base and save their hides and b) passing Obamacare will show the public that higher taxes and medicare cuts are just awesome and that only Republican spin caused people to doubt our dear President. I doubt if any of the Democrats being targeted are dumb enough to buy this nonsense. They come from districts where getting the Democratic base on your side doesn't get you very far when it is an issue where less than 45% of the people are on your side. They must also know that it will not be helpful to vote for tax increases and medcare cuts in right-leaning districts in a year where the turnout model will skew both older and more conservative.
But there is another, more promising path. One might argue to these Democrats that they are probably losers no matter how they vote on Obamacare. It really is 1994 all over again (at least in their districts) and keeping his distance from Clintoncare didn't help Jim Cooper when he ran for Senate from Tennessee. But there is more than the November election to think about. There is voting no, sterile defeat, and obscurity and there is voting yes, defeat and attractive options. The Obama administration and the institutions of the left-of-center have gifts in hand for a defeated member of the House of Reps whose vote made the difference in making real the dream of state-run health care. For the lawyers, are places on the federal bench. For those more interested in uh... culture, there are ambassadorships to safe countries with pleasant climates. For the wannabe academics, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government could place a whole crop of Professors of Distinguished Public Service Who Lost In A Good Cause Because of Unfair Republican Attacks. And Profiles in Courage Awards for all.
The most effective argument Obama might haveleft is that the targeted Democrats face electoral death no matter what they do, but if they vote right (or left, if you will), they can find an afterlife of financial stability and and status rewards.