Report: AARP will endorse House healthcare bill

The seniors' group is reportedly planning to give the House's legislation a big boost

Published November 4, 2009 10:20PM (EST)

Endorsements just don't matter as much as they did in the good old days of machine politics. Back then, when a big-name politician gave you his backing, you knew it meant more than just a photo opportunity: It meant foot soldiers, serious foot soldiers, plus walking-around money, clout and as many dead people voting for you as anyone could ever need. It's just not that way anymore, at least not

There are a few endorsements that still count for something, though, and the House Democrats' healthcare reform bill is reportedly about to pick up one of them. The Associated Press is reporting that the AARP -- "the nation’s largest membership organization for people 50+," as it bills itself -- will be officially endorsing the legislation Thursday morning.

A nod from the AARP is a real boon to the Democrats on this issue. The group has sway with senior citizens, obviously, and that's a demographic the party needs to be successful -- but it's also a demographic that has been running scared away from the Democrats' reform proposals. Having the AARP there to reassure its membership will be a big help. More than that, the organization excels at lobbying and at organizing support outside of Washington. If it can mobilize some of its members, there may be some members of Congress who can be persuaded to come down from the fence and vote for the bill.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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