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Opposition to the Public Option by Republican Chuck Grassley May End His Political Career

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Eric Nelson       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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A poll last week for the Des Moines Register put Republican Senator Chuck Grassley's support among Iowans at 57 percent, down from 75 percent in January. It is likely that on Tuesday, when the Senate Finance Committee is forced to take a roll call vote on public option amendments offered up by Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockefeller, a no vote will cause a further erosion of support for Chuck Grassley from Iowans.

Polling in Iowa and throughout the country continue to show that a majority of Americans support the public option plan. Furthermore a poll conducted last week by the Des Moines Register showed that 52% of Iowans want Grassley to compromise with Democrats on Health Care Reform while 39 percent would rather he drop out of negotiations.

Democrats had believed that Grassley's seat was safe and had not really mobilized any real opposition. However with a 17% drop in support many Democrats are seriously discussing that Grassley's senate seat could be vulnerable. Among Democrats, a former state legislator, Bob Krause, is talking of running against Mr. Grassley, saying it has been "a long time to go without rotating crops."

Nearly three decades ago, Chuck Grassley was among the Republican conservatives swept into the Senate on the wave that Ronald Reagan rode to the White House. Now he is on the defensive as he seeks a sixth term in 2010 and is feeling pressure from all sides.

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The Republican party in Iowa has been pressuring Chuck Grassley to harden his conservative views and become even more right-leaning. However, Grassley knows these ultra-conservative views and standpoints are no longer resonating with the majority of Iowans. Iowa went for Obama by a fairly wide margin (8 percentage points) and has become more progressive in recent years. Earlier this year Iowa became the third state to allow same-sex marriages and the first state in middle America to allow this right.

But the pressure on Grassley from the ultra-right fringe of the Republican party has been so relentless that Grassley has forgotten the 30 years of his legislative experience and he has checked his reputation of being a bipartisan legislator at the door of the capital.

Lately, Chuck Grassley has been labeled the lead GOP obstructor on the Senate Finance Committee and is flip-flopping on positions every time the right-wing party leadership tells him to jump. As recently as a month ago, Chuck Grassley stated that the way to get universal coverage is "through an individual mandate." He told Nightly Business report, "That's individual responsibility, and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility." Earlier this year, Grassley said health insurance should be mandatory just as auto insurance is for drivers. Now, in response to the Max Baucus bill finally leaving committee and in the final process of being amended, Grassley is citing the mandate as among one of the top reasons that he that he couldn't support the bill despite months of negotiations with Mr. Baucus. "Individuals should maintain their freedom to chose health-care coverage, or not," he said.

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It is no wonder that the voters in Iowa that Grassley is losing in significant numbers are the independents and conservative Democrats who pulled their support for Grassley after he suddenly joined the "death panels" brigade in August. To voters outside of the hard-right portion of Grassley's party this seemed like an abrupt reversal for someone who has worked on major bipartisan legislation and never been one to demagogue. He has bowed to the threats from within his own exceedingly hard-lined party and escaped a primary challenge for now but in an increasingly blue state like Iowa, Grassley is in a lose-lose situation.


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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)

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