How to Beat McCain and Win the Senate

originally posted 2008-05-21 13:27:55 -- bumped, cho

George W. Bush appears to desire the complete destruction of the Republican Party for the next forty years even more ardently than he wants to fund his war in Iraq. Or so I am lead to believe by a recent spate of incomprehensible policy decisions. He has given the Democratic Party an arsenal of tools to use against both John McCain, and nearly every Republican incumbent up for re-election in the Senate. It is July 4 in May!

Democrats in the Senate have been unable to pass a series of extremely popular and necessary programs due to stiff opposition from the Bush Administration and Senate Republican leadership. Instead of giving up, Democratic Leadership has attached the programs to the Supplemental Appropriations Bill which funds the War in Iraq. The President, who has suddenly discovered "fiscal responsibility," is threatening to veto the bill unless the offensive amendments are removed. His water carriers, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are working hard behind the scenes to insure that Republicans uphold the President's veto.

Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in November (or ever) face an unsettling dilemma.

The amendments the President wants to veto include expansion of veterans benefits through the GI bill, extension of unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in the Republican recession, and a moratorium on new Medicaid regulations which have the potential to shut down trauma centers, emergency rooms, graduate medical education, school-based health clinics and other core health care services.

Imagine trying to run on this platform: "Hi! (Big smile. Gesture at bevvy of flags behind podium.) I'm Joe Republican! Not only did I vote to NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS... I also voted AGAINST expanding educational and other benefits for war veterans. I voted to PREVENT wounded Iraq vets from receiving rehabilitation and case management services! (Big smile and finger wave.) I voted to PREVENT HARD-WORKING WHITE (clear throat, mumble) and other (clear throat) umm... other kinds of er...Americans from continuing to receive unemployment payments during this REPUBLICAN RECESSION! (Big smile, finger wave, adjust flag lapel pin.) I voted to SHUT DOWN your community hospital to insure that you have nowhere to go if you are injured in a terrorist attack! Vote YES to retain ME as YOUR Senator!"

Wow! What a platform! Who could resist? No wonder CongressDaily reported a secret closed door meeting between Republican Senate rank and file and their leadership. Apparently, a few folks are dissatisfied with the approach being pushed by McConnell and Grassley.

Well, let's help to add to their unease with a few well-placed phone calls of our own. First of all, I propose that we, the riff-raff clogging up tubing on the internets, adopt the brilliant Rovian strategy of running attack ads against Republicans who acquiesce to the President's lapdogs!

Hell, why wait till November? Let's start campaigning now! We don't have to wait for the election to have a GI Bill, extended uninsurance benefits, and hospital infrastructure. We can demand ALL OF IT RIGHT NOW.

(Tape of Boy George singing in the background: "Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?")

YES. WE. DO.

Let's begin a calling campaign to vulnerable Republican incumbents (okay, roughly translated that means, to any Republican Senator) to let them know we are watching them, and we will not tolerate the removal of a single clause from the Supplemental Appropriations Bill. Let's tell them they need to pass it prior to May 25 (the day the new Medicaid regulations that will close down Emergency Rooms everywhere is scheduled to go into effect). OR ELSE WE WILL POPULATE YOUTUBE and every other available source with ADS ALERTING THE PUBLIC TO THEIR ABYSMAL VOTE ON THE ISSUE!!!!!!

Here is some text you can use:

Hi! I'm Joe or Joanne Constituent! (Fondle flag lapel pin suggestively.) I know about all the amendments added to the Iraq War Spending bill by Democrats and I LIKE THOSE AMENDMENTS! I LIKE the GI bill. I LIKE Health Care. I LIKE Unemployment benefits. I will be watching you to make sure you pass that bill with all its amendments. And if you don't, I'm going to write to MoveOn and ActBlue and everyone else to demand that they run an ad against you based on your vote. Thank you for your time. (Hang up phone abruptly.)

Here is the contact info for vulnerable Republican Senate incumbents (i.e. Republican Senators whose seats are deemed most likely to turn blue) that you can target:

Susan Collins (R-ME) (202) 224-2523

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) (202) 224-6342

Gordon Smith (R-OR) (202) 224-3753

Norm Coleman (R-MN) 202-224-5641 (Norm gets a special shout-out because his rival, Al Franken, is really funny!)

Ted Stevens (R-AK) (202) 224-3004. (Ted gets a special shout-out for his bridge to nowhere, his really nice house, and for keeping Alaska's FBI agents employed.)

John Sununu (R-NH) (202) 224-2841 (John gets a special shout-out for the New Hampshire Republican Party's skill at jamming unneccesary phone lines.)

Wayne Allard (R-CO) (202) 224-5941. (Wayne's retiring but he wants you to vote for Bob Schaffer just as soon as Bob returns from his vacation in the sunny Marianas...)

Pete Domenici (R-NM) (202) 224-6621. (Pete's also retiring but he does not want the Senate to become over-populated with Udalls.)

John Warner (R-VA) (202) 224-2023. (John is leaving the Senate as well, probably to be replaced by a blue-tinted model of Warner, but he may be running for Governor.)

And here is the contact info for any vulnerable incumbent I failed to mention.

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Comments

I just saw your note about your call with Senator Bingham ... and the news that the Amendments passed!

Woot!

Congratulations and thank you for your vigilance!

and help and for not minding my incessant string of repeat URGENT EMAILS. Everyone must be so tired of hearing from me.

Unfortunately, there's still some more work to do, although I think this was probably the biggest hurdle. Because the House Bill didn't pass the Senate, but instead the moratorium was included in the spending bill, now the entire package has to return to the house. I think the moratorium will do okay. It passed the house by an overwhelming margin initially, and house repubs are pretty freaked out by the special elections. Also, the Prez has threatened to veto. However, the margin of passage in the Senate was huge and, as I explained in the diary, I don't think anyone will want to run on this particular veto platform.

Even Bingaman's office was surprised. Initially, they told me it had been removed from the bill. Then they sent back an email entitled, "Oops!"