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Does It Make a Difference?

With Al Franken added to the mix, Big Labor has one more vote for card check. But it isn’t clear whether it matters. The Hill reports:

Even with Franken, Democrats may not have the votes to push through because of concerns in their own conference.

“While Al Franken is a well-known supporter of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act and Sen. Norm Coleman is opposed to the legislation, we do not expect the seating of either in the U.S. Senate to significantly alter the dynamics of the vote count in the upper chamber,” says a June 15 memo from the Workforce Fairness Institute, which is opposed to EFCA. “The reality is that union bosses simply do not have the votes…and the impediment lies with Democrats, who would have a filibuster-proof majority, if Franken emerges as the victor.

All eyes now turn to the many Senate Democrats who have been skittish in supporting EFCA or have outright opposed it. Both Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) have come out against the bill, although Specter, alongside Harkin, has been working on a compromise. Specter voted for cloture on the bill in 2007.

The real question — as it is on cap-and-trade, health care, the Supreme Court confirmation, and a host of other votes between now and 2010 — is just how vulnerable Red state Democrats, whose votes are needed to enact the far Left agenda, are. It isn’t Franken’s vote that is up for grabs but those of Dorgan, Bayh, Pryor, Webb, Warner, Lincoln, Conrad, and others. Do they think Obama’s current popularity will insulate them from their more conservative constituents’ wrath? Perhaps they will get nervous, read the polls, and try to slow down the liberal train before it derails their own electoral prospects.

In part, the answer depends on how the public perceives Obama and the Democratic Congress. If one takes stock in polls, a recent Gallup survey suggests the public already thinks they are veering too far to the Left. We learn:

A Gallup Poll finds a statistically significant increase since last year in the percentage of Americans who describe the Democratic Party’s views as being ‘too liberal,’ from 39% to 46%. This is the largest percentage saying so since November 1994, after the party’s losses in that year’s midterm elections.

But beyond Right and Left perceptions, there remain basic economic facts — the deficit, GDP, and unemployment. If those continue their current trajectory, those critical moderate and conservative Democrats will be looking for cover — and for ways to put some distance between themselves and their more liberal colleagues.


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