Your Eyes Needed

As a journalist, one of the things I enjoy most about running TPM is our ability to draw on our readers to help us monitor events with national implications at the local and even hyper-local level. We first did this with the “DeLay Rule” in 2004 and Social Security in 2005 and then again as recently this summer the Tea Party/Townhall crazy of August. Sometimes it’s writes up in the local press, or mail from members of Congress or what goes down at a public event. And even though knowing these things is critical for understanding national politics, these are events and happenings that are hard for the conventional national press to follow. Now we want your help keeping us posted on what members of Congress — particularly Dems — are saying over the winter recess about how they’re going to vote on the Health Care Reform bill.As Brian Beutler explains here, Nancy Pelosi will probably need to notch her House coalition a bit to the right to get what will be essentially the senate bill through the House. So the groups we want to be watching are the staunchest pro-choice members in the House? Will they oppose the bill on the basis of the “Nelson language” which Sen. Nelson (D-NE) says is a condition of his support for the senate bill? And what about the pro-life Dems? The “Nelson language” is a bit weaker from a pro-life perspective than the Stupak amendment. So will they bolt on the other side?

And then there’s the big question. How many, if any, progressive votes will Pelosi lose because of the demise of the Public Option? I’d figured that Pelosi would not be able to pick up a lot of Blue Dog and freshman who’d voted against the bill the first time, even though the Senate bill gives these folks pretty much everything they wanted. Why? Because for political reasons I don’t think these people want to vote for the Health Care Bill at all. Yet, there are signs that a lot of them are inclined to vote for this revised bill.

The key is that you’ll likely know what these folks are saying back in their districts before we will. So keep your eyes out and let us know what you hear and see.

We’ll be posting a list shortly of the different reps in these different categories — Blue Dogs who voted against, Pro-Lifers who voted for, Pro-Choicers who might vote against, etc. — to help you focus who you’re watching.