Can Congressional Democrats Save Themselves?

The Democrats, just as the Republicans did a few short years ago, control the Congress by a large majority and the White House. But they, or rather their congressional leadership, are putting that at risk. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, either by conviction or miscalculation, are bent on pursuing a far left agenda. And that may end the era of “Democratic dominance” far sooner than anyone imagined.

Kim Strassel recently zeroed in on the impact of ObamaCare on the Blue Dogs. What’s a poor moderate freshman like Rep. Walt Minnick from Idaho to do? She explains that he’s tried his best to insist the plan be paid for, control costs, and omit the public option:

The irony is that a majority of politicians agree on this path, but are hostage to Mrs. Pelosi and her ruling liberal minority. And Mr. Minnick’s problem is that his fate is lashed to that leadership.

He can disavow this bill until the Idaho elk come home, but his voters see the big picture. They might applaud his votes, consider him a great representative. Then again, they might look at Mrs. Pelosi’s ambitions, and decide a vote for Mr. Minnick isn’t worth the risk of keeping her in power.

And this is a rerun of the cap-and-trade vote. Moderate House Democrats were strong-armed into voting in favor of a jumbo energy tax and job-killer to satisfy Pelosi’s ego -- to show she had the votes and could work her will in the House. Now the measure is stuck in the Senate and those Democrats, especially from energy-producing states, have to explain their support for Pelosi’s agenda to the voters back home. They can’t quite figure out how cap and trade is going to help the Ohio, or Michigan, or Virginia economy. Politico reported:

Those likely to find themselves with targets on their back after the 219-212 vote: freshman Reps. Harry Teague of New Mexico, Betsy Markey of Colorado, John Boccieri of Ohio, Thomas Perriello of Virginia and Alan Grayson of Florida and second-termer Zack Space of Ohio.

The GOP’s hope is do to these vulnerable Democrats what Republicans famously did to former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, the Pennsylvania Democrat who ensured that her career was limited to one term when she cast the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s budget package in 1993.