The Huffington Post is running a tally of the twenty House Republicans who are prepared to buck party leadership and cave to President Barack Obama’s demands to fund the government without conditions. The media are very interested in the dissenters, but most Republicans are not. A look at the dissenters shows why.
All but five of the twenty come from Pennsylvania (5), Virginia (4), New Jersey (3), or New York (3). And surprisingly, only five are facing competitive races in 2014, according to the Cook Political Report. Most have “centrist” or “moderate” voting records, according to GovTrack.us (though there are a few exceptions).
Overall, few Republicans in competitive districts are rushing to show their agreement with Obama or their disagreement with the Tea Party. Contrast that with the nine Democrats who voted with Republicans to delay the individual mandate and end the congressional exemption from Obamacare: all face competitive races.
In sum, Obamacare still hurts Democrats, while supporting Obama does not help Republicans. The Republican dissenters are not running from political challenges, but largely acting in accordance with their own moderate political character. They represent a real constituency but do not pose, or even indicate, a real political threat.