The video at right comes from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House campaign arm for Democrats. They’re touting their big victory on health care and highlighting how “House Democrats fought tirelessly to bring real change to America.”

Except a significant portion of the Democrats the DCCC brought to the House didn’t fight tirelessly. They in fact fought any meaningful health care reform and ended up voting against the final bill. Along the way, they helped to water down and then eliminate the public option from the bill, leaving a more industry-friendly product in its wake. And then, they wouldn’t even sign on to that, making bogus claims about “costliness.”

So you would think that the DCCC wouldn’t reward the Democrats who voted against their core achievement with more fundraising dollars to stay in Congress and keep voting against Democratic agenda items. But you would be wrong.

In the immense struggle to get 216 votes, tempers flared at times in the House Democratic Caucus. And in the aftermath of the close vote, there is still some lingering bitterness among liberal activists and in the White House about the 34 Democratic “no” votes.

Van Hollen wants to bury that bitterness. He said he is encouraging the White House to treat all Democratic vulnerables the same. The time for intraparty bickering, Van Hollen suggests, is over.

“These are members who may have voted no on this bill, but they have voted yes on other bills,” he said. “We can have disagreements, we can weather the storm of these sorts of family battles and move on.”

Then stop touting your health care bill as a tremendous achievement. After all, that’s only hurting vulnerable Democrats who voted against the bill, right?

Why anyone would give one dollar to a Democratic committee like this instead of directly to a candidate that mirrored their values is beyond my comprehension. Blue Dogs do a pretty good job of taking care of their own, and there doesn’t seem to be any value in the DCCC adding to that. Especially when they have to allow some members – the Bobby Brights of the world – to vote against everything important to Democrats to survive in their districts. Seems like it’d be a lot cheaper just to let a Republican win, with no discernible change in vote counts.

Van Hollen’s also very concerned about primary challenges.

The DCCC chief is clearly worried about primary challenges that could lead to GOP victories this fall. Swing-district Democrats like Reps. Bart Stupak (Mich.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.) and John Barrow (Ga.) have found themselves targeted by the left.

“It’s counter-productive if the result of a primary is for the Democrat to lose the seat in the general election, which could easily happen in many of these swing districts,” Van Hollen said. “So that’s why we’re very focused on that.”

Herseth Sandlin and Barrow both voted against the health care bill, and Stupak only voted for it after demanding that women’s rights be sold down the river. Why exactly should any Democrat have loyalty to them? Further, John Barrow represents a MAJORITY DEMOCRATIC district. And if the price of electing Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is losing her vote on anything of value, who’s being “counter-productive”? Those who want to see a decent Democrat in that seat, or those pouring millions into her re-election campaign and getting NO RESULTS?

David Dayen

David Dayen

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