CONGRESS 15 NOTES | Nevermind, Robert Reich is predicting the U.S. Supreme will uphold President Obama's Affordable Care Act Thursday morning. The diminutive sage of most everything political wrote on his blog Wednesday he believes Chief Justice John Roberts will join Justice Anthony Kennedy and the rest of the liberal wing of the court for a 6-3 decision in favor of Obamacare. Reich's opinion is based on the rationale Roberts needs to build greater faith in the court's impartiallity along with a judicially illuminating appellate decision handed down by a conservative jurist last year that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare.
Nerves across the country will definitely be frayed Thursday, but for endangered Democrats like Rep. Pete Stark, the dispiriting news might actually help their re-election in the fall. As ironic as it would seem for one of the authors of the landmark health care reform bill to prosper politically from a negative outcome, a candidate like Stark would greatly benefit from anger that will surely emanate from liberals, especially his progressive constituents in the East Bay who consistently desire the even more expansive public-option .
Aside from a bizarre string of public antics by Stark in April, a good portion of his slim seven-point primary advantage over Dublin Democrat Eric Swalwell was the fault of almost historically low turnout in Alameda County. If anything, it was conservatives who were slightly more enthused than staid liberals and independents. Most already believe Democrats like Stark will benefit from the residual effect of a November presidential election, so a little more encouragement can only help.
However, the connection between Stark's background in health care legislation and his hand in Obamacare in 2010 has not been effectively fused in the minds of voters. That should change regardless of the high court's decison Thursday. Really, its a win-win politically for Stark. If Obamacare is upheld, he continues trumpeting his involvement. If all or part of it is struck down, he and the Obama administration ride the enormous wave of discontent all the way to November. The issue is so full of positives that it really doesn't matter what Stark's opponent has to say on the subject. The potential for sour grapes tomorrow from Mitt Romney's camp will likely not be part of the narrative for the race in the 15th Congressional District. Why? Swalwell is also a Democrat.
MAYBE THE TEA PARTY ISN'T COMING The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a national super PAC previously making overtures about helping Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell in his race to unseat incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, may not have enough money to make much of a dent in the East Bay or anywhere this fall.
The Washington Post reported last Friday the non-partisan super PAC is running out of money despite counting on some of the richest conservative donors in the country. Texas businessmen Leo Linbeck III and Joe Ricketts are now pleading poverty, says the Post. “It’s a real opportunity; I just don’t know if we’re going to be able to afford it,” said Linbeck.
Although the group had a modicum of success in defeating incumbents across the country, it recently failed in turning away Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). Rangel, Stark's colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee, was believed to be a valuable target for the super PAC, but the Post reported it spent only $4,000 as of last week in hopes of defeating the long-time Harlem House member.
With a dearth of fundraising dollars, the Campaign for Primary Accountability appears to be downgrading its mode of attack to merely churning out increased voter turnout. In the East Bay, presumably that would entail appealing to conservative and independent voters. The same ones possibly angered by Obamacare and other effusive talk radio rhetoric, including, you know, references to birth certificates.
PAREJA (R) Last week, former 15th Congressional District candidate, Chris Pareja finally got around to what he should have done a year ago--he officially became a Republican. Pareja tweeted about his unsurprising move to the Grand Ole Party at a meeting of the Alameda County Republican Party last week. In the months leading to the June primary, some political consultants called his decision to appear on the ballot with the moniker, "no party preference" was a mistake. In hindsight, they may have been right, although not anywhere close enough to change the outcome of the race. Turnout was not only low last June 5, but the group Pareja was, in part, attempting to court--independents--stayed home. One consultant this week said just having an "R" next to Pareja's name would have goosed his final tally a couple of points. Nevertheless, Pareja still finished with a tad under 22 percent of the vote.