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You people are absolutely amazing.  Give you a little idea like handing out Carrots instead of Sticks, and what do you do with it?  

You raise more fracking money for the Progressive Dems in a just a few days than the pharma/health insurance industry has spent buying off its Blue Dog poodles in the whole year.  That's what.

You heard me right: the $347,000 $361,000 $374,000 and counting you've raised for signatories on behalf of the public option has absolutely dwarfed the money used to buy off the Blue Dogs--to tune of $5,341 $5,558 $5,762 per progressive member from you, versus $4,401 from the anti-reform industries per Blue Dog.  That's amazing.

It was my brother hekebolos who first brought this to the community's attention earlier today, by bringing in statistics on Blue Dog contributions readily available from OpenSecrets.org.  As he said:

To begin with, you know you're doing the right type of thing when a source like The Economist agrees that progressive groups are finally understanding the nature of the battle they face:

I don't know that [the ActBlue drive] will work—-health insurers have been giving money to moderates in each party for years-—but it's interesting to see that activists understand the nature of the problem they face in trying to stand firm against their conservative peers.

Well, let's see what we're up against, shall we?

Thankfully, we just got handed a nice pile of data from the good people at OpenSecrets.org, who have been tracking exactly how much cash the big health lobby has been throwing at Congress--especially the members of the Blue Dog caucus.  And it's not insubstantial:

Health and accident insurers, HMOs and health services increased their contributions to Blue Dogs by at least 15 percent between the first and second quarter of this year (from $106,200 to $122,650), but by 3 percent to non-Blue Dog House Democrats. Blue Dogs' stance on health care reform is more in line with that of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies -- they oppose a public health plan unless "insurance market reforms and increased competition don't lower costs on their own," according to Politico.

Note: As CRP continues to code contributions by industry, these numbers are likely to increase.)

In the first six months of the year, Blue Dogs have also brought in more, on average, from health insurers than both Republicans and non-Blue Dog Democrats in the House.

Blue Dog Democrats have collected $4,401, on average, through their leadership PACs and candidate committees this year. That compares to $3,085 to non-Blue Dog House Democrats and $3,820 to House Republicans.

So there you have it: an average of $4,401 per dog.

Those stats were as of earlier this afternoon.  As of the writing of this post, our average donations to the House progressives have increased to a whopping $5,341 $5,558 $5,762.

To understand just how critical this effort really is, you have to understand the extraordinary influence Pharma and Insurance lobby money has played in the negotiations over healthcare legislation, above and beyond the usual influence peddling commonplace in Washington.  It was Jane Hamsher who laid it out best in a Wednesday post at FDL that has received far less attention than it deserves:

On May 11, "stakeholders" including the AMA, PhRMA, the hospitals and the device manufacturers delivered proposals to the White House promising to "voluntarily" reduce cost increases over the next 10 years.  In an effort to keep them "at the table," Baucus's Chief of Staff  Jon Selib and Finance Committee staffer Russell Sullivan told stakeholders at a May 20 meeting that their participation in the process of crafting a health care bill was contingent on them "holding their fire"...

The goal of keeping stakeholders at the table was threefold:

  1. Keep them from advertising against the White House plan
  2. Keep them from torpedoing vulnerable Democrats in 2010 so there isn't a repeat of 1994
  3. Keep their money out of GOP coffers

You can see the fingerprints in the deals that they made:  the $150 million PhRMA was spending on ads for health care reform, the $2.5 million they spent helping vulnerable freshmen, and the total fury that Boehner has unleashed on PhRMA and other stakeholders for making deals with the White House.

People make a mistake when they think the battle for health care reform is about ideology, because it's not.  It's about who controls K Street and the cash that flows from it, which could fund a 2010 GOP resurgenece -- or not.

Reading Jane's whole post is crucial here, because it puts the Obama Administration's waffling on the public option in a depressing but invigorating context: so powerful is the insurance lobby money that the White House, according to the evidence, may have been willing to bargain away a public option in exchange for helping to keep the Blue Dogs in their seats.

It was, in short, all about money.  And you beat the insurance industry at its own game.  You've made standing up for a public option a stronger incentive, financially, than standing against it.  That's nothing short of amazing.

But the battle isn't over.  The insurance industry has deep pockets, and it's a sure bet they'll up the ante.  We have to be prepared to do likewise--and to leverage the success we have achieved so far.

I'm asking each and every one of you to email the ActBlue fundraising link to at least 5 friends.  Explain to them what's at stake, and encourage them to help out the progressives in the House.

In the meantime, I'll be helping the fine people at FDL to spearhead an initiative starting next week to put the fire under Democrats in safe seats to add themselves to the signatory list.  Be ready to make some phone calls when the time comes.

Donate.

Sign up for the FDL campaign silo.

Help out the OpenLeft Senate Whip Count effort.

And join the Carrots Not Sticks Facebook group.

You've rung their bells on K Street in a big way.  Now it's time to finish what we've started.

Originally posted to thereisnospoon (David Atkins) on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 06:15 PM PDT.

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