As we mentioned late yesterday, Dick Durbin is telling the media he’s fairly sanguine about the prospects of holding the Democratic caucus together against Senate Republicans’ repeal amendment when it comes up for a vote later today. Now we know why he’s feeling confident: Some of the likeliest candidates for defection will toe the party line and vote to protect Obamacare.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he won’t support the Republican repeal bill. “I’ve always been in the mode to repair it,” he told POLITICO on Tuesday.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, another moderate Democrat who has to face voters in 2012, is not expected to support repeal, either.

He “will continue to work to find ways to improve the health insurance reform law — like voting to repeal the 1099 provision — but he will not vote to repeal the overall bill, because repeal would add $230 billion to our national debt and because repeal would mean many Montanans would not be able to get coverage due to pre-existing conditions and seniors would continue struggling to pay for much-needed prescription drugs,” spokeswoman Andrea Helling said.

“I think the most important thing is for the American people to understand that the only way that we can make sure that people who have had the nerve to be sick before they can find insurance on the private market is to make sure that more people are in that market,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told reporters.

At this point, I’d be surprised if a single Democrat votes with Republicans on repeal. Ben Nelson remains a remote possibility, but unlike Manchin, he infamously voted for Obamacare to begin with. Will he actually turn around and publicly repudiate his own vote? Doubtful.

Speaking of Manchin, if any West Virginians who supported him in November are now incensed by his vote against repeal, they have no one to blame but themselves. Democrats from red states play this kabuki conservative game all the time. During the campaign, their ads and speeches depict them as the second coming of Ronald Reagan himself. They do things like literally shoot the cap and trade bill with a rifle to prove how they ain’t like all them other liberals up there in Washington. But once they get to DC, they revert to type. Joe Manchin’s vote against Obamacare repeal will look exactly the same as Barbara Boxer’s in the final tally.

If citizens want true conservative representation in Washington, they simply cannot vote for a Democrat. Ever.

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