More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Against SCHIP

Last night the Senate took up legislation that would expand the SCHIP program, marginally raising the federal tobacco tax so that millions more American children would be able to receive healthcare coverage. The bill is basically a no-brainer -- it's good policy and it's widely and wildly popular. Yet that didn't stop more than half of the Republican Senators up for reelection in 2008 voting against the bill. Take a look through the roll call:

SCHIP "No" Votes Up in 2008

Barrasso (R-WY)Chambliss (R-GA)Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)Craig (R-ID)Dole (R-NC)
Enzi (R-WY)Graham (R-SC)Hagel (R-NE)
Inhofe (R-OK)Isakson (R-GA)McConnell (R-KY)
Sessions (R-AL)

Looking through this list, there are a number of potential problems for the Republicans. Remember, more than 80 percent of Americans (including more than 70 percent of Republicans) support expanding SCHIP to cover every child in this country, and a large majority of Americans (including a sizable majority of Republicans) support such an expansion even if it meant that their own taxes would be raised. So the fact that a number of potentially vulnerable Republican Senators like Liddy Dole, Mitch McConnell, Jim Inhofe and John Cornyn -- and even potentially John Barrasso, who might face some real trouble in Wyoming should Gary Trauner (who's here in Chicago at Yearly Kos) opts to run for the Senate rather than the House -- are voting against this measure could be a problem for their hopes of securing reelection.

And of course this issue isn't just a problem for Republicans in the Senate. A day earlier the House also took up similar legislation expanding the SCHIP program and just five blue state Republicans voted aye -- a figure that clearly does not gibe with the public's sentiment on this issue.

I won't argue that this is the most salient issue for the voting public at this juncture. I wouldn't have the data to prove such a claim either way, though I'm fairly certain that it's not the case. That said, I do have the sense that children's healthcare is an issue that a great deal of voters care about and a number will at least in part base their vote on. And in this case, the fact that so many Republicans have entrenched themsleves on the wrong side of this issue could help upend their hopes of regaining control over one or both champbers of Congress this fall.

Tags: 110th congress, Children's Healthcare, SCHIP, Senate 2008, Senate Republicans (all tags)

Comments

32 Comments

Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

And I suppose the inclusion of Hagel will finally disqualify him as someone a Democrat should embrace, like Biden and Edwards did during the last debate.

by Dickweed 2007-08-03 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

To be fair I think that question asked who would they select if it had to be a Republican and with Iraq still likely to be the salient issue next year I can't think who else they could have picked.

by conspiracy 2007-08-03 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

I know what the question was and I stick by my previous answer. Hagel is not Democratic friendly. He is just anti the Iraq war.

I agree with you that it would be hard to pick a republican. The name Lincoln Chafee comes to mind.

by Dickweed 2007-08-03 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

I think the spirt of the question was intended to make you choose a current republican politician.

by world dictator 2007-08-03 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Who else?

Lincoln Chafee, silly.  Perfect on Iraq and across the board way more liberal than Hagel.

by David Kowalski 2007-08-03 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Who else?

I still won't forgive him for voting for the MCA (though he did vote for the Specter Amendment).

by Ramo 2007-08-03 08:08AM | 0 recs
McConnell better watch out.

If he keeps this shit up, he's gonna find his four-packs-a-day ass without a job in 2009.

by jgarcia 2007-08-03 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell better watch out.

I would dance in the street if that happened. During rush hour.

by Dickweed 2007-08-03 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell better watch out.

I'd LIKE this to hurt McConnel, but isn't Kentucky a Tobacco producing state?  If so, I can understand why some of these Southern GOPrs feel confident casting this vote.  It's still repulsive, just to be clear, but you can at least see the interest they're protecting if that's the case.  

by HSTruman 2007-08-03 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell better watch out.

Oh, I had forgotten about the tobacco connection.  OF COURSE they voted "no."  KY is second to NC is t porduction i think.

Smoking four packs a day doesn't hurt McConnell (politically, anyway) or Boehner, where they represent.

by jgarcia 2007-08-03 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell better watch out.

Still, only two on that list are from tobacco states.

In any other state, I would love to run ads accusing my opponent of blocking child health care to protect tobacco company profits. Even smokers don't like the tobacco companies.

by antiHyde 2007-08-03 02:18PM | 0 recs
Voinovich is a suprise.

Wasn't he supposed to be a "moderate?"  I guess he expects to be forcibly retired in 2010.

by Ramo 2007-08-03 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

  Liddy Dole.  We're coming for you in 2008.  That was a really, really bad vote on her part.

by cilerder86 2007-08-03 07:59AM | 0 recs
North Carolina. Tobacco.

by jgarcia 2007-08-03 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

   Nice response.  So North Carolinians think not taxing tobacco is more important than making sure children have health insurance?  How many North Carolinians are actually involved in the tobacco industry?  1%?  How many North Carolinians have uninsured children?  More than one 1%.  Just because Republicans have a rationale for their vote, doesn't mean it's a good rationale.  Do I really have to explain this on MyDD?

by cilerder86 2007-08-03 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

Clearly I strongly support expanding SCHIP. However your argument is a strawman.

A lot more than 1% of people in NC are involved in the tobacco industry. They provide a lot of jobs and revune for North Carolina. I think Dean Baker from the American Prospect makes the most compelling argument for why  the tax won't harm the tobacco industry, but I think its a fair assumption that a decent amount of  people who are involved in the tobacco industry, businesspeople and workers are opposed to any taxes on their product.

I disagree with their cost benefit analysis of course, but that does not mean that there are a decent amount of people who don't support that view.

by world dictator 2007-08-03 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.
    At least I have an argument.  What exactly is your argument?  I am confident that if you poll North Carolinians they will disagree with Dole's position on the issue.  This position is just another example of Dole's fealty to big business.        Because tobacco is an addictive drug, people aren't going to stop buying it because the price increases slightly, so I also doubt that the tax will hurt the industry - not that I really care.
   Health insurance for CHILDREN.  Spare me another devil's advocate argument against health insurance for CHILDREN because the tobacco companies might possibly kinda sorta lose a little bit of their already enormous profit made from the suffering of their clients.
by cilerder86 2007-08-03 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

But, she won't say she's against children. She'll say the costs to cover it shouldn't just come from tobacco, and most NCers would agree.

by awgupta 2007-08-03 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

  I think you're wrong about that.

by cilerder86 2007-08-03 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

based on?

by world dictator 2007-08-03 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

  Well this person doesn't have any evidence either so...I'm just going to argue that it's more important for children to have health insurance than to cave to tobacco companies.

by cilerder86 2007-08-03 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

I dont think anyone is disagring that i'd rather support childrens health than tobacco companies. I think what we're saying is that not everyone shares our opinion and its safe to assume that a decent amount of people who make money off of the tobacco industry, including average workers, share that belief

by world dictator 2007-08-03 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

  Also, I think more people are employed in North Carolina's "Research Triangle."  I'm sure this area would benefit from funding for stem cell research. But alas, we can't override the Bush veto.  I never hear the Republicans' hand-wringing over Dole and Burr hurting the Research Triangle when they vote against federal funding for stem cell research.

by cilerder86 2007-08-03 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina. Tobacco.

calm down.  I am NOT arguing FOR their vote.  Just trying to make sense of it.

FWIW, I come from the Lance Armstrong school vis-a-vis tobacco:  I'd ban it outright over a period of a couple years those those addicted could get off it.

by jgarcia 2007-08-03 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

This bad vote on Liddy's part can be added to those she cast against including timetables for Iraq withdrawal in March and her vote against raising the minumum wage in 2005.  I'd think these would stir up some opposition among her constituency.

by Mr DC 2007-08-03 03:21PM | 0 recs
Maybe Not The Most Salient Issue NOW, But...

There are so many ways to use such a vote against them.  It's just a great way to start framing a debate in terms of values, priorities, judgment, "looking out for the little guy," or any number of other themes.  It's the themes that matter, the narrative, much more than the specific vote.

A good way to start this off is with an ad based on person-in-the-street interviews.  "Did you know that Senator Scumbag voted against expanding health care to cover millions of uncovered children, including 150,000 in our state alone?  What do you think about that vote?"

A few hours of interviewing folks should get some mighty good clips to put together some 30-second and 60-second ads.  In fact, you could take it a step further, and ask people to submit their own clips via YouTube.

Anyway, the point is to use these ads to help establish themes for the campaign--themes that other ads will echo throughout the campaign, and that will resonate with the other major issues the candidate plans to run on.

If this vote is used to launch the themes, it will always retain its own resonance as well.  People will remember, even if somewhat vaguely.  Then, in the last days of the campaign, you can come back to the vote itself, either with the original ads, or with new ads that include a snippet of the original, and connect it with how the themes have been developed since then.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-08-03 08:18AM | 0 recs
Isakson is not up in 2008.

He's up in 2010...

by HellofaSandwich 2007-08-03 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

This has to be one of those issues, like minimum wage or stem cell, that has strong resonance with a distinct subset of the population. Couldn't this be used to drive single working women with small children -- one of the biggest under-voters -- to the polls?

I agree this may not get much traction in the backdrop of Iraq, but it's exactly the kind of issue that we should use for targeted campaigns in battleground states.

by rnomizu 2007-08-03 10:17AM | 0 recs
Great Post Jonathan, thankyou!

I wonder if Bush will veto anyway and try to get some of his party to change votes on the overide?  That would only serve to endanger their re-elections even more than they presently are!

by politics64 2007-08-03 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Great Post Jonathan, thankyou!

Oh, yes!  "Senator Scumbag knew this was a good bill. He voted for it. But, then he killed it because George Bush asked him to." Great ad, especially since Bush will be about as popular as bin Laden by then.

by antiHyde 2007-08-03 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Aga

Want to change that Isakson (R-GA) to Chambliss (R-GA)?

I'm sure Chambliss voted against it.

And given that Democrats couldn't even make a run-off in GA-10, which was centered on the state's most liberal city, Athens, the gasbag looks safe right now.

Anyone got some thoughts on how to change that?

by Dana Blankenhorn 2007-08-03 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: GA-10

If James Marlow, the leading Democrat, had been the ONLY Democrat in the special election, he would have easily defeated eventual winner Paul Broun for the second runoff spot (establishment GOP candidate Jim Whitehead would still have placed first).  Thank Denise Freeman and Evita Pascall for that missed opportunity.  Further, while Clarke County (Athens) is a Democratic stronghold, it is offset in total vote quantity by Columbia County, a Repub bastion just north of Augusta.  The rest of the district is rural and red, so it's a tough district overall, and perhaps not the fairest judge of Democratic capabilities in Georgia.

Between Chambliss' flip-flops on immigration and his vote against SCHIP, both BIG issues here in the Peach State, he is supplying us some ammo, that's for sure!  

by CLLGADEM 2007-08-03 06:29PM | 0 recs

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