Running Against Chuck Grassley

I think it’s right to say that one of the important dynamics in the health care fight is that even though Chuck Grassley is up for re-election in 2010 he doesn’t seem to have a serious Democratic challenger. Grassley is a popular and powerful incumbent, so it would be very hard for any challenger to beat him. But still, Iowa is a state that voted for Barack Obama in 2008, voted for Al Gore in 2000, voted for Clinton twice, and voted for Michael Dukakis. It has one Democratic Senator, Democrats control a majority in the State Senate, and the Attorney-General and Lieutenant Governor are both Democrats. So you could imagine a serious candidate coming to the fore, and Grassley would have to worry a bit.

Instead, the only thing Grassley has to worry about is a primary challenge from the right. Which means that the only thing Grassley has to do to secure his tenure in office is obstruct health care reform. Which wouldn’t necessarily be so bad, but Max Baucus appears determined to get Grassley’s support for reform. Which, in the presence of pressure from the right and the absence of pressure from the left, is almost certainly impossible.