Among the sixty Senators voting to begin debate on Harry Reid’s 2,074-page health care bill were thirteen from states which voted for John McCain last fall, five of them from states which haven’t voted for a Democrat for President in forty-five years. Alaska’s Mark Begich (who wouldn’t be in office but for prosecutorial misconduct in the trial of the man he ousted), Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, South Dakota’s Tim Johnson and Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan from North Dakota.
Those two Democrats from the Peace Garden State masquerade as budget hawks when back home on the Great Plains, but in Washington, they practically march in lockstep with the Democratic leadership. They may claim to promote fiscal discipline, but both men voted for the $787 billion “stimulus.” And yesterday, Dorgan who is up for reelection next year, boasted that the purpose of the Reid bill (even more expensive than the “stimulus”) “is to try to get a handle on” health care costs. Reminds me of the woman who ate chocolate cake to try to get a handle on her weight.
Neither his name nor that of his senior colleague was on the list of the wavering Democrats, those who might have voted for cloture. Like Conrad, Dorgan’s drunk his party’s Kool-aid, convinced that his regular visits home and friendly manner will continue to endear him to his constituents. But, if the popular Republican Governor of his state decided to throw his hat into the ring, well, then, Dorgan could no longer rest on his manner and constituent service. He would have to fight for his seat.
Facing a battle to stay in the Senate, he could no longer be a loyal foot soldier in Harry Reid’s army. A recent poll shows that John Hoeven, that good Governor, would crush Dorgan. To fight back, Dorgan would have to show that he’s different from the run of the mill Democrat.
Once Hoeven announced, Dorgan would constantly be looking over his shoulder. Harry Reid could no longer count on his vote.
So, for the sake of your country and for slowing, if not stopping, the Democrats’ statist juggernaut, all we can say is run, John, run.