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Politico’s Mike Allen admitting House Democrats worried at anti-Obamacare mood, polling trends

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

HH: Joined now by Mike Allen, one of the country’s preeminent political reporters, works for, and I read him every single morning as you should. Sign up for Mike’s early morning e-mail, so you know what’s going on inside of D.C. Mike Allen, I’ve got to tell you a story. Yesterday, I just suggested to my radio audience that if they wanted to telegraph concern about Obamacare, they should do so with an e-mail to Harry Reid and a $10 dollar contribution to his only announced opponent, Danny Tarkanian. And I am overwhelmed. I am swamped in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of e-mails that include the receipt for their contribution, $10 bucks to Tark, and the copy of their e-mail to Harry Reid. I think that the tumult in the country, not angry, but it’s passionate. What do you think?

MA: Well, Hugh, I’m going to throw out an idea for you. I haven’t been reporting on this, but I’d be interested in your view of this. Is it possible that what’s shaping up for 2010 is not necessarily going to be an anti-Democratic year, it’s going to be an anti-incumbent year, that people are going to be disgusted with what’s happened here, and they’re going to take it out on the person they can take it out on?

HH: You know, Mike, I’m going to disagree with you. I’ve always thought that the American people are very, very savvy, that the GOP got clobbered in ’06 and ’08 because they were dissatisfied with the GOP in ’06 and ’08. And I think Obamacare has got a big D on it, and this staggering deficit that came out today has a big D on it, and the prosecution of the CIA officers who are protecting America has got a big D on it. I think a tsunami is forming, but I think it’s got a big D on it. What do you think?

MA: I hear your argument, and I’m going to ask you a tough question that I know that you’ll answer honestly. Would the House Democrats be better off if they pass a health care bill, or sink a health care bill?

HH: They’d be better off if they pass it, and let the Senate sink it. I think it’s like cap and trade.

MA: That’s good. That’s good. So to answer your question about the son of Tark, who’s running against the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid in Nevada, shocking poll number that came out about Leader Reid this week, showing that he’s down double digits against the Tark’s son, and also down to a second potential opponent, state party chairwoman out there, and it’s a reminder, Hugh, that leaders do lose, right? As Tom Daschle, as Tom Foley, and so there’s a lot of worry in Democratic ranks, and add in this, Hugh, also, if Harry Reid is in the race of his life, imagine how that’s going to affect his job of trying to run the President’s agenda. So the White House has lots of reasons to be concerned about these poll numbers.

HH: Yeah, that’s my theory here as an opponent of Obamacare, is that if a campaign goes viral, that consists of $10 bucks for Tark, and people write Harry Reid, that is goes viral beyond this show, and it gets into the internets, and then it gets into other radio talkers, and it gets onto the cable networks, and people begin to focus on the fact that Harry Reid is up for election, and Danny Tarkanian is getting thousands of $10 dollar contributions as a means of sending a message, I think that crystallizes, because right now, you tell me, Mike, I see a lot of stuff going on in the country, but there isn’t much coordination. Michael Steele wrote his, he’ll be on later in the program, wrote his op-ed yesterday, but I don’t see Republicans really leading this. I see them reacting to it, but it’s really, genuinely grass roots.

MA: Well, no, that’s exactly right. I think it clearly has more authenticity, and frankly, power because it has not been ginned up. Now you and I have talked about the fact that there’s plenty of groups that want to take credit for turning people out at town meetings, and sure they’re helping, but the passion that you’re seeing on TV is real, and I can tell you that the freshmen House Democrats, the conservative House Democrats, are very spooked by what they’re seeing. This isn’t something that Democrats in the White House had not calculated. It is going to be harder to pass health care when they come back in September than it was before. That’s a stark finding. But there’s a lot of Democrats who are in districts that John McCain won, and they’re worried about what they’re hearing. So the DNC’s trying to buck them up. You probably saw that between tomorrow, when there’s a health reform now bus that’s going to launch between tomorrow and the day after Labor Day, September 8th when Congress comes back, they’re going to do more than a thousand events from town halls to bus stops to try to show that there is another side to this. But it’s a tough argument to make.

HH: You know, Mike, I think it’s like the Maginot…I think their line is collapsing. I think it is, and I’ll tell you why. In the third hour, I’m going to have on a guy, a doctor from Atlanta who genuine grass roots, organized it by himself,, he got hundreds and hundreds of docs agreeing to fly into D.C. on September 10th to harangue Senators and Congressmen. That kind of stuff, I think the Democrats have been flanked, and they better pull back to defensible lines. Mike Allen, I’ll read about everything I need to know tomorrow morning in in your daily morning brief. Thank you, Mike.

End of interview.

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