Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.), deputy chairman of the NRCC, held a conference call with bloggers a few minutes ago.
The Oregon Republican said that the most recent count at Code Red is 189 yes votes, 205 no votes, with “37 still hanging out there.”
Discussing some wavering Pennsylvania Democrats like Jason Altmire, Kathy Dahlkemper, and Chris Carney, Walden noted,“There are still overwhelming numbers of Americans in a Democrat-held seat saying ‘uh-uh.’ In my home district, people are just beside themselves
. . . The process is overtaking the bad policy as a worse talking point. You try going back to your district and explaining, ‘I never did vote for the Senate bill, I deemed it passed.’ You go explain that.”
He added, “There are two ways in which the conventional wisdom is changed. I think the idea of if you voted yes, you have to stay yes — ‘Boy, you’d better stick with it’ – is revealed as a flawed strategy. I think ‘I have gotten the message’ is easier to tell your constituents than ‘I didn’t really vote for the Senate bill, but I voted for the rule.’ The second is that process matters. This notion that it doesn’t matter, than nobody at home gets it — there has been a paradigm shift in America because of the blogosphere, the Internet, C-SPAN.”
I asked Walden about how certain he can be that those who are listed as no will stay that way. He admitted that some flipping is possible, but unwise: “This arm-twisting is about as hard-core a process as I have seen. Your arm gets twisted around backwards, almost in a torture move. Maybe if you get out, you think you can get away from where you were, but I think if you’re locked in, you better stay. If you’re a Democrat, the worst place to be is undecided, because you’re just getting pummeled from both sides.”