Democrats Not Yet Trembling in Fear of Anti-Obamacare Phone Calls

The main line for Sen. John Cornyn’s office is 202-224-2934. One of the phone lines in the Senate press gallery is 202-224-2933. I learned this today from roughly 3:30 to 5:30, as my colleague Sahil Kapur tried to get some work done and the phone next to him rang four times. The callers were trying to tell the senator that he was wrong about Obamacare, and that he should oppose cloture and halt the debate on the continuing resolution.

It was a fun but imperfect look at the grassroots campaign to “melt the phones” of senators. Democrats in red or swing states generally laughed off questions about the calls they were getting. Ted Cruz called for a “Grassroots Army” of callers. The Democrats chose not to notice.

“We get calls on every position,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. “I’d say the calls we’re getting sound to me to be kind of orchestrated. ‘Please defund Obamacare’—stock phrases. We’re getting a lot of calls that say, ‘Don’t shut down the government.’ “

Betsy Woodruff talked to many more Democrats:

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said, “No. I mean, there could be organized phone calls, there aren’t even that many of those. But there’s certainly no groundswell.”

Senator Claire McCaskill said, “Certainly there is a group of extremists that are the small minority in this country that think it’s a good idea to throw the American people under the bus to make a political point.” I asked if she had gotten thousands of phone calls on the issue, and she said, “I’m getting thousands of phone calls. I’m getting them on both sides.”

The general sense is that Cruz is doing the party an accidental favor. Any damage to them for their 2010 Obamacare votes is done, baked in.