There are 435 seats on the House. Of those, 257 are filled by Democrats and 178 by Republicans. Which means a majority is 218. The Republicans have vowed to vote against health care, period. The Democrats can pass health care on their own, but if they lose 40 of their own, they only have 217 votes.True. But that's assuming that the pro-Public Dems hold true. That's not guaranteed.
There are 57 Democrats who signed the July 30 letter saying that they "simply cannot vote" for a bill that "at minimum" does not have a public plan (PDF). There are 7 more not listed on the letter who have pledged to vote against any bill that does not have a robust public plan. That makes 64 Democrats who won't vote for the "co-ops" that both Kathleen Sibelius and Robert Gibbs say the White House is "open" to.
Do the math: 257 - 64 = 193. They need 218 to pass the bill.
So this is what you need to do, folks. If you live in any of the districts posted on FDL and reproduced here, you have a job to do.
The job is simple. Either phone or write your Congressional Rep (NOT email) and tell them "if you vote for a health care bill without a strong public option, I will pour every dollar and minute I have to spare into your primary opponent's campaign."
Member Name PVI District Corrine Brown D+18 FL-03 Albio Sires D+21 NJ-13 Alcee Hastings D+28 FL-23 Andre Carson D+14 IN-07 Barbara Lee D+37 CA-09 Barney Frank D+14 MA-14 Bennie Thompson D+12 MS-02 Bill Delahunt D+9 MA-10 Bill Pascrell D+12 NJ-08 Bob Filner D+8 CA-51 Carolyn Kilpatrick D+31 MI-13 Carolyn Maloney D+26 NY-14 Chaka Fattah D+38 PA-02 Chellie Pingree D+8 MN-01 Dennis Kucinich D+8 OH-10 Diane Watson D+35 CA-33 Donald Payne D+33 NJ-10 Donna Edwards D+31 MD-04 Earl Blumenauer D+19 OR-03 Ed Towns D+38 NY-10 Eddie Bernice Johnson D+27 TX-30 Elijah Cummings D+25 MD-07 Emanuel Cleaver D+10 MO-05 Eric Massa R+5 NY-29 Pete Stark D+22 CA-13 Grace Napolitano D+18 CA-38 Gwen Moore D+22 WI-04 Hank Johnson D+24 GA-04 Jackie Spier D+23 CA-12 Jerry Nadler D+22 NY-08 Jesse Jackson, Jr. D+36 IL-02 Jim McDermott D+31 WA-07 Jim McGovern D+9 MA-03 John Conyers D+34 MI-14 John Olver D+14 MA-01 John Tierney D+7 MA-06 John Yarmuth D+2 KY-03 Jose Serrano D+41 NY-16 Judy Chu D+15 CA-32 Keith Ellison D_23 MN-05 Laura Richardson D+26 CA-37 Linda Sanchez D+12 CA-39 Lloyd Doggett D+6 TX-25 Lucille Roybal-Alard D+22 CA-34 Luis Gutierrez D+32 IL-04 Lynn Woolsey D+38 CA-06 Marcia Fudge D+32 OH-11 Marcy Kaptur D+10 OH-09 Maurice Hinchey D+6 NY-22 Maxine Waters D+31 CA-35 Mazie Hirono D+14 HI-02 Mel Watts D+16 NC-12 Michael Honda D+15 CA-15 Mike Capuano D+32 MA-08 Nydia Valezquez D+33 NY-12 Peter DeFazio D+2 OR-04 Phil Hare D+3 IL-17 Raul Grijalva D+6 AZ-07 Robert Wexler D+15 FL-19 Rush Holt D+5 NJ-12 Sam Farr D+19 CA-17 Sheila Jackson Lee D+24 TX-18 William Lacy Clay D+27 M0-01 Yvette Clarke D+38 NY-11
That's it. No equivocation. No explanation. No rationalization. If they try to appeal to your identity as a Democrat, ignore them. If they try to appeal to your desire for health care reform, ignore them—the bill without a public option does little more than build an insurance cartel. Ignore whatever they say, and just repeat what I wrote above. You can switch around the words. Just keep the same message.
If you live in any Democrat-held district, this is a good idea. But if you live in any of the above districts, it is vital, since they already promised to defend the public option. If they turn, they'll already be losing anybody who dislikes milquetoast, power-seeking, industry-bought 'flip-floppers'. They'll need you. Badly.
So you have to scare them. They must remember that "safe" Democratic seats are not safe, because they're vulnerable to primary challenges. They must remember that a relatively small but committed number of angry citizens can sway a primary. And you don't scare them by being reasonable and amenable to compromise. You scare them by being implacable zealots who are willing to watch the world burn before they compromise.
Get to it.