|Health Care Turncoats|
By Sam Batkins
Thursday, November 12 2009
What do you get when you mix political expediency, prevarication, “moderate” rhetoric and a desire to avoid the wrath of Nancy Pelosi?
A “Blue Dog” Democrat.
During last Saturday’s midnight vote in the House of Representatives on ObamaCare, nowhere was the scent of political fear stronger than on the tails of self-proclaimed fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.
At one point this year, more than 69 Democrats publically expressed opposition to the many troubling provisions within the House health care bill, H.R. 3962. Those Democrats rightly balked at legislation that would tax the middle class, create a government-run public option and cut Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.
During the vote on Saturday night, however, 36 of them heard Speaker Pelosi’s footsteps and bowed to her will, voting for final passage and sending the 2,000-page-plus bill, complete with its $1.3 trillion price tag, to the Senate.
One of the health care turncoats, newly-elected Representative Bill Owens from New York’s 23rd district, even decided to break four campaign promises within a matter of hours after being sworn into office by voting for the legislation.
According to The Gouverneur Times, a newspaper reporting from the Congressman’s district, candidate Owens promised his soon-to-be constituents that he was opposed to a government-run public option. In addition, his own campaign website noted that he would not vote for any legislation that included cuts to Medicare, taxes on health care benefits or that increased taxes on the middle-class “in any way.” Yet, as his first act in Congress, the rookie politician proved that he had already mastered the art of political prevarication by breaking all of those campaign promises and casting his “Yea” vote on Pelosi’s health care “reform” bill, which, of course, cuts Medicare benefits, taxes health insurance and raises taxes on the middle class.
Owens wasn’t the only House member made out to be a liar last Saturday night. One by one, nearly three dozen of his “moderate” Democrat colleagues, all once pledging opposition to government-run health care and fidelity to fiscal responsibility, went back on their word and marched to the Speaker’s heavy drum.
One Republican displayed a similar courage deficit during the health care vote. Joseph Cao, a freshman Congressman from New Orleans, waited thirty minutes to cast his vote, well after the bill achieved the necessary votes to pass, and then decided to hand Speaker Pelosi an early Christmas present.
With Cao’s support, Democrats cynically claimed that their massive government takeover of health care was “bipartisan.” If all Republicans had voted against the plan, of course, Democrats would have cried “obstructionism.”
The genesis of the lone Republican betrayal began several weeks ago when White House bag man Rahm Emanuel met with Cao to persuade him to vote with Democrats. Unfortunately for Cao, however, his support garners him nothing in the end. Cao might enjoy a fleeting moment in the spotlight among the nation’s liberal elite as the bipartisan savior of socialized medicine, but as soon as the campaigning begins next year, does anyone really believe that Rahm Emanuel and President Obama won’t turn out Democratic voters to ensure that Cao is a one-term fluke?
After all, Cao represents an urban district that voted overwhelmingly (75 percent) for President Obama in 2008, and his victory last year was aided more by his opponent’s long string of indictments than Cao’s merit as an effective representative of the people.
Eventually, Blue Dog Democrats will suffer the same fate. The only difference is that voters will dole out their punishment instead of the White House. Of the 39 Democrats who backtracked on their opposition to ObamaCare, most represent districts that John McCain won in 2008, and no crafty rhetoric or folksy campaign commercial will save them from voters in the coming months.
Accordingly, the profiles in cowardice that are the Blue Dogs will soon understand the meaning of “Pyrrhic victory.”
As ObamaCare crosses the Capitol Rotunda, will members of the Senate follow the lead of their House counterparts and bow to the political bullying of the Majority, or will they realize that moral weakness combined with a lousy voting record will ultimately require them to brush off their résumés and join the ranks of the unemployed?
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