The spin here is that he’s been so goshdarned effective in twisting arms that they simply can’t bear to be without him. Which is another way of saying (a) they don’t have the votes, (b) they’re seriously afraid they can’t get the votes, and (c) they’re so low on sticks and carrots that they need to leverage the persuasive power of a guy who’s 0 for 3 in his last three times out on the stump. Never mind this Telegraph story: At this point, if The One wants to terrify Democratic fencesitters into voting yes, the threat should be that he will campaign for them, not that he won’t.
The White House has been bringing its A game in a final push to get health care passed — and some House Democrats are so pleased with the shift they want President Obama to postpone his planned Asia trip if a deal isn’t sealed by his planned departure time on Sunday…
“For the first time in eight months the president is finally getting his hands dirty, and now he’s going to hop on the plane? Please,” said a Democratic congressman, who requested anonymity.
“These deadlines are sort of silly,” the member added. “Remember the first one? March 18th? That was sort of like putting a calendar on Rahm’s back and inviting members to throw darts at him.”
Another Democrat told POLITICO that “this trip is really getting in the way of things.”
He’s bringing his A game and yet, by Hoyer’s own admission, they’re still short. How short? Stupak claims he’d be surprised if they had even 200 commitments, which may be technically true but likely has less to do with fear of voting yes than holding out for some kind of deal. My whip count guesstimate is that they’ve got 200 reluctant yeses, 190 hard no’s, and another 41 Dems just chilling and waiting to get paid. Pelosi, mindful of how toxic Reid’s bill became due to backroom deals, is now vowing that there won’t be any buy-offs in this one, but note the fine print: That doesn’t mean there won’t be a buy-off in some future bill as thanks for their “cooperation” on ObamaCare. No Cornhusker Kickbacks this time, in other words, but count on plenty of Cornhusker IOUs being passed quietly under the table.
While I’m still heavily inclined to think they’ll pass this abortion, there are reasons to Hope for Change. Stupak told reporters today that he’s actually picked up a few new no votes for his bloc after losing some members, and Blue Dog Jason Altmire says the House leadership has been forced to start recruiting among even the hard no’s to try to get to 216. If, as I suspect, the votes are there and are waiting for the right bribe to shake them loose, they shouldn’t need to go digging in the “no” column, should they? This is, perhaps, a lot harder than it looks.