But know this: Every single Republican Senator will support a filibuster to kill health care reform. Every one. Even the two ladies from Maine. They hate everything about this reform bill. They hate it for the normal ideological reasons, because it involves government action on behalf of the general welfare. But they also hate it for strategic political reasons. Republicans know that if the Democrats manage to pass big health care reform legislation, and it does indeed expand access and reduce costs, then it could alter the political landscape for a generation. Americans would start to think differently about not only their party identification but also the role of government. The entire Reaganite "government is the problem" philosophy could disappear over night. There are plenty of quotes from conservative intellectuals and strategists admitting as much, which I will dig up when I have some more time.
But for now, the point is that if the Democratic caucus will stick together, the Senate Republicans don't really even matter. And this leads me to the SEIU's cool recent campaign: Adopt-a-State. They explain...
We elected Barack Obama, in part, by calling tens of thousands of voters in key "swing states." This year is no different. Voters in Arkansas, Nebraska, Connecticut and Louisiana need to hear from us about what's happening on health insurance reform. So adopt a state, and start recruiting your team today.
These of course are the states of the four Democrats who have at one time or another threatened to join a Republican filibuster of health care reform. They are Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Joe Lieberman (technically he's an Independent, but he caucuses with and gets free stuff from the Dems) from Connecticut, and Mary Landrieu from Louisiana. SEIU's idea is to help activate supporters of health care reform in these key states to contact their Senators, so that Lieberman and company will feel more pressure from below.
So at a time when many progressives are hoping for some back room arm-twisting against the conservative four, the country's second biggest union is out to turn up the heat in their home states. That is something to feel good about.
PS... Expanding access to health care, big and active unions, and the possibility that Democrats might act like real Democrats? These sound like the ingredients of a right wing nightmare! Just toss ACORN in there to really make this psychedelic. As Rachel pointed out, SEIU is right below ACORN on the Right's list of things to smash.