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Democrats Ratchet Up Pressure On Snowe



Democrats are pressuring Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) to vote for President Obama's health care plan. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Democrats appears to have adopted a "good cop, bad cop" routine with Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) as they seek to convince her to support President Barack Obama's health care plan.

After weeks of courtship of Snowe by the White House, Democracy Corps -- a Democratic-aligned polling operation -- released polling data this afternoon that argues that the Maine Senator's willingness to cooperate with the Administration on health care is directly tied to her re-election prospects in 2012

The survey, which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, argues that while Snowe is extremely popular at the moment -- 70 percent job approval, 60 percent saying they would vote for her again in 2012 -- those numbers "should not be mistaken for blind allegiance to her," according to a polling memo released with the data.

As evidence, the memo notes that when the same sample is asked to imagine Snowe voting against Obama's health care plan, her numbers drop precipitously -- with 44 percent saying they would definitely vote to re-elect her and 44 percent saying they would entertain the prospect of voting for someone else. That drop includes a 33-percent tumble among independents, a critically important part of Snowe's winning calculus in past elections.

"Health care reform is too big an issue to bite the Democratic and independent hand that feeds her electoral success," reads the memo.

This memo is rightly understood as a shot across Snowe's political bow, a not-so-subtle hint that she should support the President's health care plan or else.

As we have written before, Snowe sits at the center of whether the health care legialation carries the patina or bipartisanship or not. But, as we have also written, there are strong reasons to believe that Snowe won't be swayed too much by these sorts of poll numbers or even the ads being run against her by progressive groups.

Snowe has been through this sort of intense lobbying effort before and, for an incumbent whose lowest re-election percentage is 60 percent, the prospect of electoral peril is less intimidating than it might be for some Senators.

Given that, the full-court press being put on Snowe by Democratic interest groups has the real possibility of back-firing -- turning her against compromise to show that she will not be bullied into backing the legislation.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 30, 2009; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  Senate , White House  
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Comments

Ken Spain is an individual who has established a pathological pattern of unstable behavior.

Posted by: godblessamerica714 | October 4, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

If LBJ were President, he would be 101 years old.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

When all is said and done, the party of NO is going to vote no, Ms. Snowe included. What the Democrats need more than anything else is some discipline among themselves. They have 60 votes in the Senate, a large majority in the House and if Lyndon Johnson was President this would be a done deal, including a public option. Lyndon Johnson, God rest his soul, gave us Medicare which lets a lot of older folks, including me and mine, sleep a lot easier at night. But Lyndon was a MAN, not some nanny. He would promise you that if you voted against his plans you could expect a well financed primary opponent at your next election. And he would promise to come and campaign for that opponent and paint you in a very dark corner from which there would be no escape. Things got done in those days. Lyndon accomplished more in domestic programs than anybody since FDR and anybody since Republican or Democrat. Now, they just talk and nothing gets done except maybe a very much watered down bill that will be a boondoggle for the insurance companies.

Posted by: Opa2 | October 1, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

"And then I say to myself why should a few panicky "weak sisters" in Congress that represent a few sparsly populated states get to say what the other 300 million Americans get? And the answer to that is another screw 'em.

Posted by: margaretmeyers"

Gotta keep the people who want it and need it in mind. A lot of people who are hurting and don't have the finances to compete with the insurance companies. Gotta keep fighting the good fight on behalf of those who are weaker than us. Why? I guess it's just what we do.

One of the reasons I love Obama. Top of his class at Harvard Law. He could get a job at any law firm he wants and make millions right away. Instead, what does he do? He goes to inner city Chicago and starts working as a community organizer for the poor. Who knows what I'll think of Obama as a President four years from now, but I'll always admire him for the work he did for those who needed it most.

Compared to that, spending a few hours making calls or going to town halls or rallies is really nothing.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 1, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans lose another one, fading deeper into irrelevance:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/health/policy/01health.html?hp

Abortion will not be restricted as a way to curry more support from GOP members who'll vote against it regardless.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

I had one of those "WTF?" moments when I heard there was a proposal on whether women should be required to purchase a separate insurance policy to get abortions.

Then I thought to myself, this might just be stupid enough to actually pass.

And it almost did.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 1, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

sorry, snowy: Drindl did just vacation in Maine, and the rest of us are glad to have her back and posting. She brings heat and light. But Snowy and Jake can really deliver the weasel.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 30, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Snowe is what we used to call a Republican, before that became an insult. Now you have to be careful to preface that with "Moderate" or you do her a severe disservice.

Posted by: nodebris | September 30, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Republicans lose another one, fading deeper into irrelevance:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/health/policy/01health.html?hp

Abortion will not be restricted as a way to curry more support from GOP members who'll vote against it regardless.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

As usual you've got it just right--especially in your final paragraph. There is gentle persuasion, and then there are bald threats. This was not good.

It's a more extreme form of Move-On's Bush-era 'Gen. Betray-Us' effort which was so cleverly (in the foxy sense) blown up into an anti-Democrat screed by the Republicans.

A much better effort would be to create a (more wisely managed) Dem. version of the Club For Growth to pressure Democrats who are veering to the Right to moderate their positions. If FDR or JFK could see today's Democratic party, they would shake their heads in sadness and incomprehension.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | September 30, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Drindl travels around main, you travel up and down the hallway making faces at the nurses.

Laugh away.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Drivl's threatened boycott :

I have just spent over a week traveling around Maine with friends who live.

Hohohoh hahahsha.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I think this health care $$$$ bill is going to go down in history as the thing that differentiated the end of the American hegemon from that of the British and all the rest before.

We are about to decide. We will spend money on each other (what else is health care, after all?), rather than money for fears, rather than money for trash.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 30, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Given that, the full-court press being put on Snowe by Democratic interest groups has the real possibility of back-firing -- turning her against compromise to show that she will not be bullied into backing the legislation.

==

Yessss how very much better to be bullied by the GOP into voting against the interests of the American people in hopes that healthcare's failure would be blamed on Obama and give the useless Republican Party a path back to undeserved power.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"Someone tell her about glucosamine. Two days of it on her food and my cat stops limping.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite "
----------------------
Wow!, so I'd think you're going to thank her for helping your cat.

Posted by: JRM2 | September 30, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Senator Snowe voted for the stimulus package when it needed help from the GOP to pass. She is a good Senator who has bucked the GOP party line for the good of the country. She ought to have some say on the health care package - a major initiative that will rank with and cost like Social Security and Medicare. She deserves thanks for her independent streak and courage.

Posted by: karlanne1 | September 30, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Insiders in Maine say that Snowe may not run again in 2012 due to increasing pain from her arthritis.

==

Someone tell her about glucosamine. Two days of it on her food and my cat stops limping.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

LOL, broadwayjoe hasn't heard that Harry "Dingy" Reid will probably be voting AGAINST Obamacare.

Source:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/sep/16/harry-reid-health-care-bill-wont-work-nevada/

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

JaneDoe, there are times I think the same thing. A bunch of nonothings in Hick Town don't want to improve their lives? Screw 'em, I have good health insurance managed well by the Federal government.

And then I say to myself why should a few panicky "weak sisters" in Congress that represent a few sparsly populated states get to say what the other 300 million Americans get? And the answer to that is another screw 'em.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 30, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Insiders in Maine say that Snowe may not run again in 2012 due to increasing pain from her arthritis.

Posted by: deadbranch19 | September 30, 2009 6:02 PM
________
Source for your knowledge?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 30, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Forget Snowe and the Gangs of five, six, seven, or however many they're talking about. We oppose ALL gang activity on principle. Have Harry Reid go with the long overdue "nuclear option" that would allow for majority, up or down votes from now on.

With it, he could stop being held hostage by senators from extremely pale states with less than 15 inhabitants. Enough! 66% want the public option. Honor the people's will.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 30, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I have just spent over a week traveling around Maine with friends who live there, and every editorial I read STRONGLY supported Snowe and called her heroic, courageous and independent. She is greatly loved there by democrats, their brand of republicans [who tend to be saner than elsewhere in the US] and independents.

She will have no trouble getting re-elected if that is what she chooses.

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Insiders in Maine say that Snowe may not run again in 2012 due to increasing pain from her arthritis.

Posted by: deadbranch19 | September 30, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Olympia Snowe has a role to play in a drama. There are not the Democratic votes needed to pass the Shumer public option. Most of the vocal proponents of the public option still labor under the illusion that it means government control of health care costs and free insurance for them. Its easier for the Democrats to blame the limitations of the bill on the need for Snowe's vote than admit its their choice. It is also the case that the Republicans have valuable input to the bill. The President wants it and Snowe's influence could still provide a public option to be triggered in the case where competition from insurance companies turns out to be insufficient. Its also surely the case that many Republicans are basically in favor of the bill that is likely to emerge. But, as long as the votes are available to pass it, they can try to distinguish themselves by voting against it and campainging against some part of it that their constituents don't like. Generally it is hard to campaign against the Democrats by talking about how good a job you did supporting their legislation. Of course, there is still the mystery of why the Democrats can't get together 60 votes in the Senate on their own.

Posted by: dnjake | September 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

A SNOWE JOB ON THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT?

The bill as drafted thus far appears to reward the insurance industry and Big Pharma without addressing the key points of universality and affordability. Relying heavily on tax deductions and IRS enforcement complicates an already burdensome tax code as well as the filing process.

Given all the compromises, they STILL have to kowtow to the alleged GOP moderates?

Even proponents of health care reform are now having serious doubts. When the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, media poobahs of the Democratic base, can't sign on wholeheartedly to Obamacare, why are the Dems so worried about the GOP? They should be worried about being abandoned by their own.

***

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

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


Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

janedoe4,what a great and so true statementwe have exactly the same type of persons in our area.we were discussing this very thing this past weekend .i didnt know how to put in words like you did but you hit it right on the mark.may i use the rural republican tools?i love it.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I would not pressure Snowe. I would pass a strong public option with reconciliation. Anything less than a strong public option is a grandiose Medicare D. Remember that plan? Insurance and drug costs shot up after it was passed. People paid through the nose. They called it the donut hole. And the government funneled billions of dollars more into the pockets of the billion-dollar insurance/drug corporations and their bonus-rich CEOs.

That happened because the drug companies beat back a proposal for bidding.

That's the issue here too. Beat back the public option and then charge whatever you want and take the difference out of the treasury. That's where this is headed, if we don't get a strong public option.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | September 30, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

what is and why do you still call it president obams health care plan.i watched his speeches and his joint session speech and i still believe its a congressional plan all i heard the president say was what he would like to see in the plan.cant cacel, no existing conditions ,and not raise the defecit .has he written one sentence to the plans being played around by the house and senate?i think not.he should have and not left it up to these 535 incompent people.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 30, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

Can you please explain the "reconciliation" process to these people once again?

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

To hell with bipartisanship, Republicans aren't into doing the nation's business, they're too busy being crybabies because they've lost big in two elections in a row.

Healthcare will pass as a reconciliation vote, requiring only 51, Republicans will whine and squeal and hold breath till blue, and they will continue to shrink in influence.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DDAWD | September 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The everyone included in the useful and necessary compromises are the industry stakeholders. Doctors, lawyers, insurers, quality managers, data clerks, first responders, rehab hospitals, OTs, RT, PTs...the industry is massive and everyone is going to get paid, once the useful and necessary compromises occur.

But the only way it can be budget neutral is if we stop buying something else with the money that is going to required to be spent on health care.

Our spending priorities are in for a sea change. Oddly, the punditocracy does not seems to care or even notice. Where is the money for insuring all of those millions supposed to come from? It will come from all of us, so what does that mean? Less consumer spending? Less driving around? It has to come from somewhere.

It will be a good thing in the end. I am happy that we are not going to see a health care value bubble (though too much money chasing too few services will have that effect in the short term). Ultimately health care is not like real estate, .coms, or tulips. Some say it is not a commodity at all.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 30, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

From looking around at rural Maryland, where I live, and at the people so opposed to Obama mainly based on racism, I hope the whole healthcare debate goes down in flames. Why? Because those who need healthcare the very most [they have none or very few do] and who suffer from debilitating illnesses and whose famiy members also suffer from major illnesses, are opposed to the President's efforts to get them some help.

You know what? They deserve to suffer and suffer they will. Hope this makes the rural rednecks and their families happy. We refer to them as rural Republicans. Tools of the GOP who use them to get votes and get out their radical, racist message.

Ugh

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | September 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to imagine a single vote in 2009 affecting a popular senator's potential re-election in 2012. Even if it's an important issue, it's just one issue, and 2012 is a long way off.

On the other hand, the poll also shows that Maine residents are very concerned about healthcare, and strongly support the Democrats' plan. Whether or not this affects Snowe's chances to be re-elected, she should factor in the will of her constituents when she decides how to vote. Politics is about more than being re-elected, after all.

Posted by: Blarg | September 30, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, she will NOT be bullied into backing Obamacare.

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Now stArts the desperate attempt to pin some sort of "bi-partisan" tag on this monstrosity.

Obama will be crowing about how he worked across the aisle to deliver all sorts of useful and necessary compromise to include everyone.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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