Whenever I had Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws in Texas, there was always tea at the table.
Usually sweet tea. (Still from an anti-reform video by the Tax Tea Party.)
There's going to be a lot of unsweet tea at a lot of American tables this Thanksgiving, as Republicans and other health reform opponents launch an all-out media blitz to keep the Senate from getting 60 votes to end debate on S. 3590, on which debate has officially begun.
The Republican ads are targeting moderates like Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (above), whose deals for supporting debate are being called "back-room" bribe agreements reached "in the dead of night."
Maybe they were, although the vote to start debate was at 8 PM on Saturday.
The problem is the condemnation won't end for these Senators no matter how they vote. Republicans successfully targeted both Democratic supporters and opponents of health reform in 1994.
The threats would have more meaning if Republican voters were willing to embrace party-switchers, like Sen. Joe Lieberman. (They accepted several in 1994 and one, Sen. Richard Shelby, remains in the Senate.)
But polls show grassroots Republicans think little of such converts. As a Republican Lieberman might even lose a primary to Cliff Clavin (played on Cheers by John Ratzenberger, left.)
One thing Republicans can do in the coming debate is support conservative amendments, in which case the magic number becomes 11. Any amendment getting solid Republican support and 11 Democrats goes into the bill that must then get 60 votes to come up for a final vote.
Democratic leaders will spend the holiday negotiating to see what amendments might win the support of people like Sen. Landrieu on final passage without antagonizing the liberal majority. Republicans will try to win 11 Democrats to amendments liberals will detest enough to turn against their own bill.
Good thing, then, that the football games this weekend are going to be lousy. Take Green Bay, Dallas, New York, and Harry Reid. Give the points.