[Posted by Karl]
The HuffPo’s Nico Pitney reports on the Left’s counter-productive campaign for ObamaCare in Nebraska:
Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) lashed out Friday at the ads being run against his position on health care reform in his home state, saying they would backfire — and might even derail the entire reform process.
In a statement issued late in the afternoon by Nelson’s office, spokesman Jake Thompson warned that if the new series of ads calling out the Senator’s “stalling” on reform were “an indication of the politics going into August, then health care reform may be dead by the end of August.”
“Nebraskans don’t need outside special interest groups telling them what to think. Senator Nelson has nothing but praise for Nebraska groups working toward health care reform. Unfortunately, he says, these outside groups undermine the sincere and dedicated efforts of people in our state,” Thompson wrote. “Recently, similar ads have run in Nebraska. Those ads by other special interests prompted hundreds of Nebraskans to call our offices, with 9 to 1 urging Senator Nelson to do exactly the opposite of what the special interest group wanted. In short, the ads backfired.”
The response to Nelson from the Left was sadly predictable. The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen called his statement “petty.” At the misnamed Moderate Voice, Kathy Kattenburg calls Nelson “awfully touchy.” OpenLeft’s Paul Rosenberg goes straight to profanity.
All of the above — not to mention the New York Times blurb on the story — avoid the part about the hundreds of calls to Nelson’s office, running 9 to 1 against ObamaCare. While those telephone calls are not a scientific sample, they are a tangible reminder that poll after poll shows that strong opponents of ObamaCare greatly outnumber strong supporters. Intensity matters, as any study of issues like abortion or gun control will reveal. It is an incovenient truth for the Left.
Instead, Lefties like Rosenberg and the founder of one of the groups named in the HuffPo report prefer to accuse Nelson of being bought by health and insurance interests. It is true that Nelson has been both chief executive officer of an insurance company and Nebraska’s state insurance regulator, and has received a lot of donations from insurance and health care interests in his three campaigns for federal office. However, even by Rosenberg’s numbers, Nelson has collected more from Omaha and Lincoln than from the insurance and health industries. And the truth is that there is significant overlap. Nebraska has a sizeable insurance industry, most of it located in Omaha. Nebraska’s 25 largest employers include Mutual of Omaha and 10 different medical centers. It is thus no surprise that Nebraskans are intensely interested in the Democrats’ efforts to fundamentally restructure their businesses.
There is also the tiny little fact that Nebraska has been a red state since 1964.
The current state of play has the Democrats looking to steamroll moderates in the Senate (x2) and the House. Indeed, there is another round of sabre-rattling about ramming a partisan healthcare bill through the budget reconciliation process, though that is a risky gamble under the best of circumstances. Immaturely accusing a key Senator of being petty and corrupt probably worsens the Left’s odds, but I wish them the best of luck with that tactic.
Update: There was intensity on display over the weekend in Philadelphia, where “[a] raucous standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 cheered, jeered, and booed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.” Let’s go to the video.