The Hill and Fox News both report that the Blue Dog Democrats in the House may try cutting deals with Republicans that will dramatically change the direction of health-care reform this summer. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) explains that moderate Democrats have become nervous over the massive costs and the tax hikes that have become associated with ObamaCare and want to find a way out from under the thumb of Nancy Pelosi:
Some centrist House Democrats have reached out to Republicans to explore breaking with their party leadership on healthcare and crafting a reform bill with the rival GOP, one congressman claimed Saturday.
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) asserted that an “interesting development” is taking place underway that, if true, could effectively remove Democratic leadership from the driver’s seat on healthcare reform legislation in the House.
“There’s an interesting development occurring behind the scenes, wherein moderate Democrats — so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats — and business-friendly new Democrats are actually starting to have conversations with us to build a coalition from the center outward, to actually really come up with substantive and well-founded healthcare reform,” Boustany said during an appearance on Fox News. “And that’s the only way to do this.”
Is this real, or a Republican fantasy? The opposing votes from the Blue Dogs on the Ways and Means Committee weren’t a fantasy, much to the chagrin of Democratic leadership. It also wasn’t a managed outcome to allow moderates to save face in their districts. The DNC announced that they would run ads against their own members in those districts to shame them over their opposition.
That’s probably a huge mistake. These Democrats have their eyes on Obama’s slipping poll numbers, and will vote to save their skins with their more conservative constituents. The DNC proposes to turn itself into a minority party once again in the lower chamber by aligning itself with an increasingly unpopular attempt to nationalize the health-care industry and to ignore the reality of exploding deficits. They may get their wish in these districts — and see their apostates replaced with Republicans to permanently sideline Pelosi & Co.