Tea Party Express targets anti-Obamacare Republicans

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Opinion Zone,Mitchell Blatt

The Republicans need 50 votes to repeal Obamacare in 2012 (through reconciliation) after they retake the presidency. Right now, they have 47 conservative members who voted to repeal the bill. So why is the Tea Party Express targeting two Senate conservatives who will be crucial for repealing the waste and high costs of Obama’s healthcare bill?

The Tea Party Express so far has announced their intentions to get Republicans Dick Lugar (IN) and Olympia Snowe (ME) unelected, thus forcing Republicans to have to win one extra state (California?...) to make up for Maine.

Lugar and Snowe are among the most popular members of Senate. With their seats and their anti-big government, anti-Obamacare votes guaranteed, conservatives should focus their energies on getting to 50. Olympia Snowe has a +22 approval rating spread according to Public Policy Polling. (Scott Brown is +24, if anyone brings him into the conversation.)

In case anyone was wondering, Maine is a heavily Democrat state. In fact, it is the eleventh most Democrat state, according to a Gallup poll of voter affiliation. Snowe has won easily there every year since 1994, when she was swept in with the help of Gingrich’s Republican Revolution. Prior to Snowe, that seat was held by Democrats Edmund Muskie and George Snow respectively from 1959 until 1995. Edward Muskie would not vote to repeal Obamacare.

Indiana is more likely to stay Republican, but that race could very well be a toss up if Lugar doesn’t run. Obama won Indiana by a razor thin margin in 2008, and Indiana has a record of electing moderate Senators from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Evan Bayh just retired this past year after criticizing the Democrats’ obsession with Obamacare and lack of focus on jobs. He was replaced by Dan Coats, who while previously serving as Senator from 1989 to 1999 supported the Brady bill and supports Paul Ryan’s plan to decrease the deficit. Coats is just the kind of guy we need in Congress: Someone who is serious about entitlement reform. The Tea Party Express should rather target people who don’t want to get our national debt under control.

So what kind of Republican does the Tea Party Express want elected to Maine? Someone like Michelle Bachmann who says, “I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views”? Someone like Steve King who said, “He does not have an American experience”? Nothing against either of those representatives, but the State of Maine is not the same as the rural district of Iowa that King represents, and the same kind of politician won’t get elected there.

If the Tea Party Express wants a hardcore, down-the-line 100% “true conservative” as Senator of Maine, then what they are likely to get is a Democrat Senator of Maine. We should unite these conservatives on such issues as getting Obamacare repealed, and getting big government Democrats elected isn’t going to help repeal Obamacare or advance other conservative issues.

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