As President Barack Obama prepares to make his first State of the Union address tonight, the promise of a health-care bill actually earning passage looks pretty sick thanks to the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown -- a man who Colorado candidates Scott McInnis and Jane Norton desperately wish to emulate.
Not Jared Polis, though. The Boulder Dem is attempting to go back to the future in an effort to revive the public option component that was left out of the measure passed by the Senate. He and Maine's Chellie Pingree are currently circulating a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid making this pitch, with the hope of collecting enough signatures of support to make him actually listen. And Democracy for America, the Howard Dean-founded PAC that proved so effective during the 2008 campaign, is championing Polis as one of America's "healthcare heroes" in a release intended to rev up a popular uprising that might save a bill that's currently on the critical list.
JP's come a long way since beer-bonging with Stephen Colbert. Read the DFA release below:
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DFA Member -
Democrats were elected to lead in 2008 and Representative Jared Polis is one of the few people willing to step up to the plate.
You probably already saw Charlie's e-mail from this morning, so I don't need to tell you about the work Rep. Polis is doing to put real pressure on roadblock Democrats and pass real healthcare reform with a public option. This is the sort of leadership that 250,000 progressive activists demanded when they signed our petition calling on Congress to pass healthcare reform through reconciliation.
We need to stand up for healthcare heroes like Rep. Polis when they stand up for us -- call him today and thank him for his work to pass real healthcare reform.
Representative Polis is working to save Democrats in Congress from disaster. Let's make sure he knows we appreciate his leadership.
Thank you for everything you do,
Michael Langenmayr, Deputy Political Director Democracy for America
P.S. In case you mised the news, here's a copy of the e-mail Charlie sent this morning.
DFA Member -
After members from Democracy for America, CREDO Action, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee made 3,595 calls to Congress since Friday asking House members to publicly support passing a public option through reconciliation, two Healthcare Heroes have stood up to work to make it happen:
Representatives Jared Polis from Colorado and Chellie Pingree from Maine
As we speak, these two fearless Democrats are gathering signatures of other House members on a letter to Senator Harry Reid asking the Majority Leader to use the budget reconciliation process, which only requires 51 Senate votes, to pass a public option.
Your calls are working. Now, we need to back these Healthcare Heroes up and help them find other House members who will sign on. Call your Democratic Representative in the House (if you have one) and Speaker Pelosi and ask them to sign on right now.
It's not just your calls that are working. It's everything we're doing to make this happen. We've hit our goal of over 250,000 signatures on our petition calling for reconciliation. And our poll of MA swing voters was turning heads in Washington all last week.
Last night, the NYTimes broke the story on a new poll we did over the weekend in 10 freshmen Democratic districts to see what effect passing a public option would have on the Democrat's chance for reelection in 2010. Here's what the voters said:
FRESHMAN DEMOCRATS FACE TROUBLE IN 2010 IF CONGRESS DOESN'T PASS A PUBLIC OPTION
Polls in 10 frontline freshman districts show:
• 68% of voters want a public health insurance option • By 5 to 1, voters want their Representative to fight to add the public option over passing the Senate bill • By 3 to 1, persuadable voters are less likely to vote for the local Democrat if Congress doesn't pass a public option as part of reform • 55% say Democrats need to do more to fight big corporations • 56% say Democrats haven't done enough to fulfill Obama's 2008 campaign promises • 52% of Democrats are less likely to vote in 2010 if Congress doesn't pass public option -- Republicans more likely
If Democrats in Washington don't listen and pass real reform, then freshmen Democrats in tough reelection battles may pay the price at the polls in 2010. We can't let that happen to leaders like Representatives Polis and Pingree. We must back them up and help get other House Democrats on board.
Right now, the fight in Washington over healthcare boils down to two options: full retreat or bold leadership.
We know America wants bold leadership. Let's do everything we can to make sure Democrats in Washington get the message.
Charles Chamberlain, Political Director Democracy for America