Memo for Pete Sessions (and John Cornyn)
My Washington Examiner column asks the leaders of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to use fundraising to send a message about the votes on Obamacare, and to use the votes on Obamacare to ignite fundraising for 2010.
If the party committees miss this obvious moment to staple the Obamacare vote onto the 20 most vulnerable House Democrats who voted for the Pelosi version of Obamacare, then the Club for Growth should step in and lead the charge. People will give generously to the campaigns against Democrats who voted for the House bill on Saturday night if they are guaranteed that the money will go to challengers in winnable races. Given the dozens of House Democrats from districts which John McCain either carried or came close to carrying, a target list of 20 from the 220 who voted for the bill should take about 10 minutes to develop, publish and organize a fund-raising push around.
Similarly, the NRCC (or the Club for Growth) could raise a lot of money if it was segregated into a fund to be given over to 2010 challengers of Senate Democrats who vote for cloture. If such a fund gets organized and underway right now, it could even help deter a Democrat or two from joining in the first cloture vote.
When tens of thousands of people travel to D.C. to try and stop Obamacare, you can be certain there are tens of thousands more who will contribute to war chests that are specifically set up to defeat the Democrats who made it happen.
The NRCC and the NRSC shouldn’t miss this moment, nor should they try to raise generic money. Ask for funds to defeat incumbents who have already voted the wrong way on Obamacare, and pledge that those funds will be turned over to primary winners, not deployed to favored insiders or GOP incumbents. Activists opposed to Obamacare want their energy and money to go into specific efforts to stop Obamacare. If the GOP Congressional leadership doesn’t seize the moment, you have to wonder if they will be able to use the momentum that has already been built against the Democratic majority.
The key is specificity: Against exactly which Democrats in which districts will the funds be used? Will the funds go exclusively to defeat Democrats up for election in 2010 who voted for cloture?