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The Most Important Number in Politics Today

49

That's the number of House Democrats who sit in districts carried by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 election.

Those 49 members -- almost all of which are members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition -- are at the center of the fight over health care reform in the final week before Congress breaks for August. (The full list is after the jump; a big thank you to Swing State Project for compiling the information.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) pledged on Sunday -- in an interview with CNN's John King -- that "when I take this bill to the floor, it will win", a stunning pronouncement given the widespread skepticism about the bill among the moderate and conservative members of the Democratic caucus.

If Pelosi wants to make good on her vow before Congress breaks at the end of the week, convincing a handful of the 49 Members who sit in McCain-won districts is absolutely essential to her cause.

The issue for these Members is that they have already been forced to cast controversial votes on President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package and his cap and trade measure, and many of them feel as though they want to spend a month in their districts chatting with their constituents before they make another vote that could cost them at the ballot box next fall.

The problem for Pelosi in this debate is that her caucus is almost too big. Democrats picked up more than 50 seats in the past two elections, many of them in places like Idaho where Obama took just 36 percent; a vote for the president's agenda, particularly on an issue as divided along partisan lines as health care, could be enough to convince their constituents that they are more loyal to the national party than to their own state.

To be clear, Republicans would LOVE to have Pelosi's problem at the moment. But, the health care debate this week highlights the dangerous intersection of politics and policy. Keep an eye on those 49 House Members to see where (and if) they move over the next few days.

Democratic Members in McCain Districts (Obama percentage in parentheses)

AL-02: Bobby Bright (36)
AL-05: Parker Griffith (38)
AR-02: Vic Snyder (44)
AR-04: Mike Ross (39)
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick (44)
AZ-05: Harry Mitchell (47)
AZ-08: Gabby Giffords (46)
CO-03: John Salazar (47)
CO-04: Betsy Markey (49)
FL-02: Allen Boyd (45)
FL-24: Suzanne Kosmas (49)
GA-08: Jim Marshall (43)
ID-01: Walt Minnick (36)
IN-08: Brad Ellsworth (47)
IN-09: Baron Hill (49)
KY-06: Ben Chandler (43)
LA-03: Charlie Melancon (37)
MD-01: Frank Kratovil (40)
MN-07: Collin Peterson (47)
MO-04: Ike Skelton (38)
MS-01: Travis Childers (38)
MS-04: Gene Taylor (32)
NC-07: Mike McIntyre (47)
NC-11: Heath Schuler (47)
ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (45)
NM-02: Harry Teague (49)
NY-13: Mike McMahon (49)
NY-29: Eric Massa (48)
OH-06: Charlie Wilson (48)
OH-16: John Boccieri (48)
OH-18: Zack Space (45)
OK-02: Dan Boren (34)
PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper (49)
PA-10: Chris Carney (45)
PA-12: John Murtha (49)
PA-17: Tim Holden (48)
SC-05: John Spratt (46)
SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (45)
TN-04: Lincoln Davis (34)
TN-06: Bart Gordon (37)
TN-08: John Tanner (43)
TX-17: Chet Edwards (32)
UT-02: Jim Matheson (39)
VA-05: Tom Perriello (48)
VA-09: Rick Boucher (40)
WV-01: Alan Mollohan (42)
WV-03: Nick Rahall (42)

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 27, 2009; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tpaw Steps Up
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Comments

hayden1:

First, I will never resort to ad hominem personal attacks against you. Second, I believe the earth is a sphere. Third, your analogy fails because Obama's own grandmother stated that he was born in what is now Kenya. Why won't Obama release his LONG FORM birth certificate to prove otherwise? That would be like NASA saying "we have pictures of earth from space, but we won't let you see them, so you are going to just have to trust us" in your analogy.

Posted by: JakeD | July 28, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Rep. Jim Matheson D-UT, is hardly conservative. He scored 36 for the American Conservative Union Ratings for 2008. Rep. Rob Bishop got 100 and Senator Bob Bennett got 64. Senator Bob Bennett is now the 8th most liberal Republican US senator based on those numbers. Where does that leave Rep. Jim Matheson?

Posted by: Utah1 | July 28, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Hayden: you're wasting your time. That idiot will never learn, no matter how many times his lies are exposed or rebutted he comes right back not only with the same lies, but the exact same words. He doesn't even have the intelligence to come up with alternate wordings. We who comment here are used to it, and really don't expect much from him but irritation. He really thinks he's onto something with that birth certificate stuff, waving it around like someone who just converted to worshipping Cybelle.

Two (2) people posting here answer him, that's enough to keep him posting away, and those two won't stop. He contributes nothing to this blog, and he contributes nothing to the world except sewage.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

JakeD..umbass
All evidence put forth and you and the Bat shi-t birther movement would not believe anything anyway because you all are MORONS.

Analogy:
Fact: The Earth is a sphere.

Batshi-t movement: show us the proof.

Fact: multituted of pictures of the Earth from outer space showing the Earth is round.

Batshi-t movement: Well no that was a picture made by liberals in Hollywood.

Posted by: hayden1 | July 27, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

he's dumb as a bag of hair

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Jaked off is at it again. He was hatched under a flat rock in Canada.

Posted by: seemstome | July 27, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

The "blue cross dog" democrats are named well. When it comes to insurance, they know who butters their bread. Pelosi deserves a medal if she pulls this off.
She has more Balz then Obama.

Posted by: seemstome | July 27, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Better wordcop than Imperial Wizard of the Birth Certificate Idiot Brigade

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

A sworn member of the grammar police too.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Once again, yet more" is redundant

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Once again, yet more examples of "hatred and vitriol" from the left.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

How fascinating to have such an intimate glimpse into the epistemology of drooling idiots

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

nutbar

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

First thing that former Governor Palin should do is release her LONG FORM birth certificate showing everyone how easy it is to prove where one was born.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

What I "believe" is that Obama has not proven that he is a natural-born citizen -- I'm simply asking an honest question in that regard and, since I was not present for his birth, I cannot say for certain either way -- just as scientists could not directly confirm that the planets revolved around the Sun until relatively recently. Some day, we may all know the truth.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

For the record, the SHORT FORM Certification of Live Birth bandied about ( http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/10/24/Obama%20birth%20certificate.jpg ) is not the same as a LONG FORM Birth Certificate ( http://incogman.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/hawaii-birth-certificate-1963.jpg )

Again, if anyone who is willing to answer my questions in a civil manner wants to discuss this issue, please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"To wear the mantle of Galileo, it is not enough to be persecuted: you must also be right"

==

Didn't Chris Matthews show a copy of Obama's BC for several nights in a row?

Face it, Jake, this is lunatic crap you believe in.

Stupid pest.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, this entire string of argument was included in the latest software patch ; )

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Sure, but citing specifically to "Galileo and Copernicus" as other examples of those who were mocked, but eventually vindicated, was part of the 3.0 update.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

No, unwarranted egotism has always be part of your core code.

Posted by: nodebris | July 27, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

At least it's a new update in my software programing ; )

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"You're welcome -- people thought that Galileo and Copernicus were nutty as fruitcakes"

The last resort of the mocked: compare yourself to Galileo.

I'm always especially amused when Climate Change deniers take this route, which they frequently do.

Posted by: nodebris | July 27, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

You're welcome -- people thought that Galileo and Copernicus were nutty as fruitcakes re: heliocentrism as well -- I won't expect an apology even if I am proven correct.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I only post about myself or Obama's birth certificate when someone brings that up or refers to him as "President".

==

Obama is the president, and there is no actual question about his eligibility from any reputable quarter.

This preoccupation of yours defines you as a below-the-salt nutbar.

And your dropping it into every discussion defines you as a pest.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Aprogressiveindependent writes
"Republicans are virtually certain to regain about half of the seats they lose in 2006 and 2008 in conservative districts, especially if the Democrats currently representing those districts vote wholesale for the Obama/Pelosi agenda. That is just being politically realistic."

That's not necessarily 'realistic' so much as lazy. I say lazy because your prediction rests largley on the assumption that the underlying demographics don't change over time. If you look at the data from the 2008 elections, the bad, bad news for the GOP is that their base is shrinking - not just ideologically speaking, but demographically. The groups among with Repubs are most popular are shrinking relative to the electorate as a whole. Meanwhile, the youth vote is overwhelmingly supporting the Dems. The fastest-growing minority groups also support Dems, though not as strongly as the youths. The suburbs - which put Bush into office & were most responsible for the GOP hold on Congress for 1995 - 2006 - are switching back to being competitive.

For the GOP to regain significant numbers of seats in 2010, they will have to recover suburban voters and make inroads in the youth vote & minority vote. Right now they aren't doing a whole lot to work for those voters. The GOP focus seems to be on two things: stopping anything the administration proposes & loosening gun regulations. They haven't done anything else. Even if the economy is still in the crapper next year, its not clear the GOP is offering anything voters will buy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"For the record, I only post about myself or Obama's birth certificate when someone brings that up or refers to him as "President"."

Which makes you a nutty-as-a-fruitcake birther. Thanks for clearing that up, joked.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 27, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I only post about myself or Obama's birth certificate when someone brings that up or refers to him as "President".

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I know that you are posting the same thing on every thread, but REALLY this thread has nothing to do with Prof. Gates, Farrah Fawcett, or Fox News.

Posted by: JakeD

==

This from the guy who posts about himself, himself, himself, himself, himself, himself, and Obama's birth certificate in every single thread

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 27, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to turn this issue over to a BIPARTISAN commission to fix the problem, with one of the goals being : AS LITTLE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION AS POSSIBLE! One of the things that this administration just does not get is the fact that there is LITTLE FAITH IN THE GOVERNMENT DOING ANYTHING RIGHT -- EXCEPT DEFENSE!

Everything the government touches costs an 'arm and a leg', and when it comes to health care, that is precisely what it might very well cost.

Obama has not leveled with the American people. It was clearly portrayed on July 22. As evidenced by his own poll numbers, his personal credibility is slipping – largely as a result of this issue – HEALTHCARE!

What is also a bit bothersome is Obama's recent statement, "Don't bet against me!" That statement is bothersome. Is he betting against the American people?

If he wants to reform health care -- GET IT OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, and NANCY PELOSI's hands!

The plan has lost credibility. Bits and pieces have slipped out; the White House has failed to share details with the American people; and the government -- in total -- is forgetting that there is a little phrase that should be guiding us all: "LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!" They should not be playing with LIFE!!

PS: Nancy Pelosi's popularity is LOWER (27%) than that of Palin's (40%) and even Cheney’s (37%)!!
What does that tell you????

PSS: Ask yourself this question: Could Nancy Pelosi win in your district? If the answer is 'No', then perhaps that is the way you should vote!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 27, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

......."Perhaps what is really happening is that the republicans have decided to burrow deeply into the safe haven of extreme right wing issues....."

now tell me...
what does that mean?

just throwing that out for the heck of it

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 27, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic party is essentially a right-center party, especially in the context of western European ideology in recent decades. Were the Democratic party truly a progressive party, they would trying to pass a single payer, universal health care system for the people of this country. They would not hesitate to significantly increase taxes on the upper class and reduce unnecessary military spending. A progressive party would seek prosecutions of officials in the previous administration who violated the law. They would not be selling out to special interest groups in the bank bailouts, climate and health care bills.

Democrats did so well in the House of Representatives mainly for two reasons, widespread opposition to the war in Iraq and the economic woes during the fall leading up to the election.

Republicans are virtually certain to regain about half of the seats they lose in 2006 and 2008 in conservative districts, especially if the Democrats currently representing those districts vote wholesale for the Obama/Pelosi agenda. That is just being politically realistic.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 27, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

McCain won that many democratic house districts? Wow! How many districts did Obama win that Republican's hold the districts? I know of 2: Delaware & Mark Kirk's district in Illinois. It looks like both of those guys will be running for US Senate. Big pick-up shots for Senate Republicans & Democrat House members. That really leaves a bunch of opportunities for Republicans to target. Democrats will have to spend heavily to defend these seats, which takes away from money they could be on offense with. However, if these democrats prove their independence & loyalty to people of their districts, they will vote against the public option! Maybe give a bill more fiscally sound, but if democrats want to keep the house and stay in power individually they will vote against the public option.

Posted by: reason5 | July 27, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps what is really happening is that the republicans have decided to burrow deeply into the safe haven of extreme right wing issues, and politicians who recognize that they need party affiliation to succeed are going with the only reasonable party available."

that is exactly what we are seeing. their elected politiicans are choosing to pursue the loony conspiracy theories of the base and just give up on appealing to anyone rational. Really dumb, but all their intellectuals have already become independents, so they don't have anyone much left with any brains. the further they go to the fringe, the more seats they will lose.

already the base is so far out there even Ann Coulter is starting to make fun of them.

Posted by: drindl | July 27, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting analysis, but for the part about the "progressives". Real "progressives" are firmly on the left side of the Democrat Party tent, so I'm not sure what would make you think they would jump to a 'center-right' party, if created. Posted by: dbw1"

Progressives used to be a term for republicans like Roosevelt, all his life, and Taft, BEFORE he got elected President. Other big progressives were Nelson Rockefeller and Ev Dirckson. But basically anyone not caught in the Maelstrom of the Rabid Right who gets tired of being expected to soldier on for a cabal that never intends, or intends never, to actually give the center as much as the time of day.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 27, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

the mccain level is not linear

so it is irrelevant

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 27, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

PROF. GATES' NEIGHBOR TAPE QUESTIONS:

Didn't she know him? Or, of him? So why didn't she call his house before calling the cops?

Why did Sgt. Crowley insist that Prof. Gates come out to the porch AFTER he had seen his ID? And why did he tell dispatch: "Keep the cars coming"? Because he intended to arrest him all along?

This smells like a set-up -- the typical "M.O." of the government-enabled "community stalkers" who work hand-in-glove with local police to engineer contrived controversies that cast aspersions upon the character and stability of their "targets."

President Obama: Dismantle the federally-overseen "Gestapo" devised by a secretive executive-branch "multi-agency coordinated action program" that operates under your nose, hiding in plain sight:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

IF HAPPENS TO WHITE ETHNICS, TOO:

http://nowpublic.com/world/anti-stalking-journo-seeks-lawyer-fight-stalking-charge

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 27, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

oh i don't know

what about getting rid of the electoral college
and we can all have breakfast with al

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 27, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline:
"The Moderates and Progressives try to retake the party, fail, and go hunt up Ross Perot to resurrect the American Reform Party. (That is what I expect)."

Interesting analysis, but for the part about the "progressives". Real "progressives" are firmly on the left side of the Democrat Party tent, so I'm not sure what would make you think they would jump to a 'center-right' party, if created.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 27, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Since the first seven posters don't seem to have read the column to get what the gist was, I can be the first real poster.

While all those districts were Red at the McCain level, at least the three in Ohio may actually be shifting to blue dog, because the Republicans keep finding candidates on the mold of early sixties Paul Brown. He apparently had failed to grasp the essence of the four down lineman defense, and kept practicing against a defense he thought he understood, the old middle guard.

Republicans don't understand the new state of the electorate very well, to whom they will have to explain why Reaganomics is such an absolute failure. Rather than learn and change, they go the Sarah route, and get candidates who can be highly animated about abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in schools, and hope that no one asks them about health care, the collapse of the economy, and what the republicans intend to do about it.

Perhaps what is really happening is that the republicans have decided to burrow deeply into the safe haven of extreme right wing issues, and politicians who recognize that they need party affiliation to succeed are going with the only reasonable party available.

Some where in here, since the republicans win't do it, perhaps the blue dogs will organize their own center right party. That essentially puts three potential Republican Party killer scenaria out ther, and some aor acombination of all might remake American politics.

The Moderates and Progressives try to retake the party, fail, and go hunt up Ross Perot to resurrect the American Reform Party. (That is what I expect)

Liberals, disaffected centrist republicans, and centrist Democrats Build their own party, or capture the ARP.

Blue Dogs decide that they really don't fit in either party and start their own.

over a decade or so that party will mostly create bigger and bigger Democratic majorities and landslides, as they struggle with the Republicans for the plurality of the right. Eventually they will have their own landslide after a quarter century of massive democratic majorities begins to annoy enough of the electorate that they gravitate to the new party on the bloc.

Meanwhile, there being any number of high priority corrections to the last quarter century of Republican malfeasance to be corrected, Pelosi and Ried are quite correct in giving those eventual neo-Whigs room in the party to compromise and work with the Democrats on that important legislation.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 27, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

mattadamsdietmanager1014:

I know that you are posting the same thing on every thread, but REALLY this thread has nothing to do with Prof. Gates, Farrah Fawcett, or Fox News.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Well once again FOXNEWS hit a all time new low. Bad enough this is day #7 and they are still talking about the Gates drama but now they are going after Farrah Fawcett.

For freaken sake the woman had cancer, don't they have a heart.
According to Foxnews:"Farrah Fawcett excluded Ryan O'Neal from her 2007 will, instead leaving everything to her son Redmond O'Neal"fOXNEWS....reports Redmond was in jail on drug-related charges and unable to be by his mother's side when she died. O'Neal said he asked Fawcett to "please forgive him, that he was so very, very sorry."foxnews..


Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | July 27, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber:

Luckily (at least for now), the First Amendment prohibits the government from taking Rush Limbaugh off the air.

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Give 'em a bone and they'll roll over.

Posted by: nodebris | July 27, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Scrivener50 wrote, "President Obama must dismantle the nationwide GPS-activated extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" and remove from power the federal officials who continue to oversee it."

I heartily agree that Rush Limbaugh should be taken off the air.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | July 27, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Don't they teach math at Cornell anymore?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

scrive:

you know about caps...what is going on

getting mad

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 27, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

WHAT GOOD IS HEALTH CARE REFORM WHEN A FEDERAL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM' IS DESTROYING THE LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICANS...

BY MEANS OF A GPS-ACTIVATED CIVILIAN VIGILANTE 'COMMUNITY STALKING' ARMY;

CO-OPTED LOCAL POLICE;

FINANCIAL SABOTAGE;

AND THE DEPLOYMENT OF SILENT, INJURY- AND ILLNESS-INDUCING MICROWAVE/ LASER 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS'?

***

• President Obama must dismantle the nationwide GPS-activated extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" and remove from power the federal officials who continue to oversee it.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

6 is one below seven

i asked broadwayjoe the other day

you play football jakey?

good
take a hike

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

There is little doubt that Parker Griffith and Bobby Bright will not be reelected. The republicans have great challengers and unemployment has tripled since Obama was elected.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | July 27, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Maybe "when" she takes this bill to the floor is never? Go Charlie Wilson, the Fighting Sixth!!!

Posted by: JakeD | July 27, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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