Conservative Democrats fear that dozens of members could be swept out of their districts in the midterm election next year, and that fear has been intensifying in recent weeks.
Between a tough vote on a climate change bill that many don’t expect to become law and a leftward push on healthcare legislation, Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) critics within her caucus say she’s left the so-called “majority makers” exposed.
“She keeps trying to push an unpopular package,” said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a centrist Blue Dog Democrat, referring to healthcare. “I think it’s fair to say they were better at it before.”
Another Blue Dog lawmaker put it more bluntly.
“They’re seriously endangering their majority,” said the Blue Dog, who requested anonymity. “With the increased margin and a [Democratic] president, there seems to be a different feeling.”
Then they speak of Pelosi's decision to back out of deals she made with moderate Democrats in order to obtain their original vote:
What irks them most is the sense that the Senate won’t pass anything so strong, if it passes anything at all. So they expect to get beaten up for voting on a bill that will never become law.
“What bothers me is I was put in that position unnecessarily,” said one vulnerable lawmaker.
That has made vulnerable and centrist lawmakers wary now that lawmakers are working on the president’s top priority: healthcare. Centrist Blue Dogs threatened to stop the bill in committee, saying their priorities had been ignored, particularly on the contentious issue of a “public option.”
That group negotiated a compromise, but Blue Dogs were enraged this week to find out that Pelosi has told fellow leaders she was backing a public option and a surtax that ignored that deal. Pelosi has since backed off, saying she will leave the decision to the caucus.
Still, vulnerable Democrats are worried that they will be pressured into supporting a public option that many of their constituents consider a “government takeover.”
Blue Dogs have two options... they can stand up to Pelosi or they can allow her to railroad them into going against their constituencies and commit political suicide.
Should be interesting to see what choice they make.... their party or their voters.