Conservative Democrats Plan Vote Against Jobs to Save Their Careers (?)
So far, we have one defection on the American Jobs Act, though it isn’t a Democratic defection. Joe Lieberman, the lame duck (emphasis on lame) Senator from the Connnecticut for Lieberman Party, plans to vote no today, because he wants more deficit reduction (the American Jobs Act reduces the deficit). In addition, New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen will probably miss the vote, as she’s getting the “New Englander of the Year” award tonight. So that takes the threshold, provided no Republicans cross the aisle, down to 51, and you haven’t even factored in the axis of Nelson/Manchin/Landrieu/Tester. Maybe Reid can whip support of the motion to proceed, but if it’s destined to fail anyway, that will be a tall order.
The bill is supposed to serve mainly as a talking point, an example of how Democrats are “fighting for jobs” against recalcitrant Republicans. If the bill cannot even garner a majority in a Democratic-held chamber, that talking point dissipates.
You can see conservative Democrats turning their wheels and thinking that a vote against the jobs bill gives them distance from the President. In truth, it’s just a vote against jobs, the number one priority of the public. And it will hurt their re-election efforts rather than help them.
In an interview with me this morning, Greenberg made a strong case that moderate Senate Democrats in red states would be foolish and shortsighted if they vote against the American Jobs Act today, as some of them appear to be prepared to do […]
“They reduce their risks for reelection by showing support for a jobs bill that’s going to be increasingly popular as voters learn more about it,” Greenberg said. “They have to be for something on the economy, and this the kind of proposal they should support. If I were advising them, I’d say you want to be backing a jobs bill with middle class tax cuts paid for by tax hikes on millionaires. Moderate voters in these states very much want to raise taxes on the wealthy to meet our obligations.” […]
“Voting No would increase their risk of losing,” Greenberg said bluntly. “Democrats would look divided on their central agenda. In the end you all go down with the ship here. Why would you send Democrats back to the Senate if they are divided on the most important issue facing people? Here you can show unity and purpose, which Democrats have not had an opportunity to do during budget negotiations.”
As John Cole writes, Republicans are so in the heads of these ConservaDems that they’ve got them voting against their own better interests, in the same way that they convince working class whites to do so. “They have so fully bought into the GOP spin they don’t even know why they are Democrats anymore.” Agreed. The idea that a vote against jobs will have anything but an objectively bad effect on their political prospects – that telling masses of unemployed in their states that they are not a problem – is kind of crazy. I know plains states like Nebraska and Montana have relatively low unemployment. But as Greenberg says, it just ruins whatever message you would take to voters.