Skip to comments.Republicans take aim at vulnerable Democrats in health war
Posted on 11/09/2009 9:13:27 AM PST by MissesBush
Within minutes of Saturdays historic House vote on health care reform, Republicans pronounced the political death of Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-Va.), pointing to the vulnerable freshman congressmans vote in favor of the bill.
And in the aftermath of the politically charged vote, Perriello wasnt the only Democratic congressman whose fortunes were being reassessed. The GOP, which voted nearly in lock step against the measure, began crowing about the demise of various other vulnerable members and seized on the moment as a milestone in the path back to a House majority.
Other than Perriello who was the target of 12 consecutive postvote GOP e-mails accusing him of breaking his promises a handful of members immediately stood out for casting especially tough votes.
Three of them are junior legislators from highly competitive Ohio districts: first-term Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus, and Rep. Zack Space, a second-term Democrat from a district that backed GOP presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.
Kilroy, who is facing a 2010 rematch against the Republican she narrowly defeated by 2,300 votes last year, took to the House floor Saturday morning to declare her support for the bill.
This is a moral issue, Kilroy said, in a speech that noted her own trials with multiple sclerosis.
Driehaus, like Kilroy a freshman Democrat who is facing a rematch with his 2008 opponent, former GOP Rep. Steve Chabot, voted for the health care bill only after it was stripped of funding for abortion.
This isnt about politics, Driehaus told POLITICO before stepping into the chamber to cast his vote. Its about doing whats right for the American people. I havent thought a minute politically what this might mean. This is about doing the right thing.
For Perriello, Kilroy, Driehaus and Space, the health care bill represented their second exceptionally tough vote this year the other was on the cap-and-trade bill meaning theyve essentially doubled down on the ambitious national Democratic agenda.
New York Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who was sworn into office earlier this week after winning a closely watched special election, may also find that he sinks or swims with the national party next year.
Winning narrowly in what was originally a three-way contest, Owens voted for Saturdays bill after holding an ambiguous position regarding a public option. It didnt take the National Republican Congressional Committee long to pounce, saying his vote could be the quickest broken promise in the history of Congress.
On the whole, however, many Democrats sitting in politically marginal seats took the path of least resistance. Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the $1.2 trillion package, 31 hail from districts McCain won in 2008. And seven of the 10 Democrats rated as most endangered by The Cook Political Report also voted no. Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr., a freshman Democrat from a Maryland district that McCain won with 58 percent of the vote and who is facing a prospective rematch with the GOP opponent he narrowly defeated, announced Friday that the legislation did not sufficiently rein in costs and that he wasnt satisfied it was a sustainable solution.
Rep. Walt Minnick, a first-term Democrat from an Idaho district where McCain won 62 percent, said Friday he opposed the bill because it didnt do enough to limit health care costs.
Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, whose Montgomery-based district McCain won with 63 percent of the vote, said before the vote that he couldnt support the bill because of cost concerns and a government-run public option.
Im voting for what the majority of what my constituents want, Bright told POLITICO Saturday before stepping into the chamber to vote. I consider myself a spokesman for my district.
The lone Republican to vote for the bill, Louisiana Rep. Anh Joseph Cao, also had a compelling reason to break ranks the freshman represents a heavily African-American, solidly Democratic district. The six House Democrats running for statewide office had their own unique political calculus to consider. For Reps. Neil Abercrombie, seeking the Hawaii governorship, and Joe Sestak, running for Senate in Pennsylvania, the votes were relatively painless Abercrombie is running in a heavily Democratic state, and Sestak is challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in a Democratic primary where he is running to Specters left.
The four others split on the vote. For Rep. Charlie Melancon, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat running for Senate in Louisiana where the national Democratic Party is no asset at the moment a no vote was probably the price of admission for running statewide. Rep. Artur Davis, who is running for governor in conservative Alabama, found himself in a similar situation. As his Democratic colleagues whooped and hollered in celebration after passage, Davis was seen crossing his arms, his face expressionless.
In New Hampshire, Rep. Paul Hodes, the likely Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat, came down in favor of the vote no easy decision, since he has come under fire on the issue after allegedly ducking town hall meetings this summer.
In Florida, Rep. Kendrick Meek, like Hodes the likely Democratic nominee in an open Senate contest next year, also voted yes.
Republicans made clear that Saturdays vote would be a centerpiece issue in 2010.
There will be a price to pay, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas told POLITICO before heading to the floor to vote. This will be a gift that keeps on giving.
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, didnt seem worried.
Their constituents voted for them to make big decisions for the country, Van Hollen said after the vote
In particular that snake Owens in NY-23 must have all the stops pulled to make his Congressional assignment a 12 month temp. job only. The man is a liar and a fraud and must be defeated next year. Let's take our country back!
I would suggest they not bother to return to their home. You vote away your neighbors income you should have to find a new neighborhood. My guess is either DC or San Francisco.
Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House because brain dead “conservatives” voted for Blue Dog Democrats. A vote for a Blue Dog is a vote for Pelosi to keep her job, which is destroying the USA.
“Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-Va.)”
We warned ya, Tommy Boy. Save those 30 pieces of silver when you’re booted out next November. You’re going down.
Yep, I have been busy calling Radio Talk shows responding to those types. Just point out to them how their “Conservative” Democrats have voted since Jan 2009.
“This isnt about politics, Driehaus told POLITICO before stepping into the chamber to cast his vote. Its about doing whats right for the American people. I havent thought a minute politically what this might mean. This is about doing the right thing.
Threatening those who don’t buy health insurance with 5-year prison terms is the “right thing?”
Giving health insurance to illegal immigrants is the “right thing?”
Putting the government in an abominably unfair advantage in “competition” with private insurance companies is the “right thing?”
The government taking over 1/6 of our economy is the “right thing?”
Stop insulting our intelligence, Rep. Driehaus. BTW, enjoy your final year of congressional perks, punk.
There will be lots of RATS - not just Blue Dogs - who will be fighting for their political lives in 2010. At least 40% of targeted RATS will lose. Pelosi was stupid to put her members out on this ledge.
When the American people - particularly seniors - find out what was in this bill - the RATS will be repudiated with disgust.
The problem is most voters are so stupid they think this is gonna be FREE. I talked with a pharmacist yesterday who assured me my premiums would go down and all my meds will be covered. I told her she was an idiot in my own way.
what he meant to say was,Nancy told him its the right thing. She can hire him as an intern when hes looking for work.
If the vote were held today, he would be out by a landslide provided all the votes were cast by FReepers.
When the actual election rolls around, the results will be 51-49. Which side will get the 51 percent?
Does it matter, if you don’t do anything except bitch about it?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.