When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.
Good Luck with That Reelection Thing, Walt
Within hours of Obama's speech giving strong support for the House Bill on health care reform, and with the endorsement of the bill by both the American Medical Association and the AARP, Congressman Walt Minnick announces he will vote against it.
“Over the last several months, I have met with thousands of constituents from all over Idaho’s First Congressional District. They are gravely concerned about the economy, about job security, and about the kinds of opportunities their children and grandchildren will have to make a better life.
“Like most of them, I believe that cutting down the cost of health care is one important step we can take in moving our economy forward. We need to reform the insurance industry by demanding accountability and increasing private-sector competition. We must reduce government spending on programs such as a Medicare, and look to Idaho for examples of ways to do just that. And we must reduce costs throughout the health-care system, so the long-term benefits of reform will truly help our economy to grow and our nation to prosper.
“Unfortunately, the new health-care bill in the House does not adequately meet those goals, so I will vote ‘no.’ However, I am encouraged by the work of the U.S. Senate, and am hopeful that the final bill I vote on will be one that all Idahoans can support.”
On the heels of the off year election, pundits were quick to draw conclusions on what the results meant for Obama and the sweeping majorities of Democrats elected to both Houses of Congress. Most acknowledged that the results in New Jersey and Virginia state races could not really translate into a message which pertained to national politics. The right wing noise machine had considerable egg on its face by highlighting a teabagging coup in the
three way congressional race in upstate New York as a referendum on both Obama and the future of the teabagging movement as a winner for Republicans. The Democrat won that race handily against the Sarah Palin endorsed conservative in a district that hasn't seen a Democrat since President Grant sent Custer to eradicate "injuns", secure the Black Hills gold fields, die an ignoble death.
Despite the fact that Democrats increased their margin in Congress by two on Tuesday, some still maintain that the state results were by too wide a margin to ignore, spelling doom for Democrats next year. While certainly 'right', they might also be correct, but not for the reasons they cite. In Virginia the Democrats ran as DINO's, conservative Democrats. Democrats stayed home. In New Jersey the Governor was unpopular with 30% favorables but still managed to come within 5% of winning, in part, because of Obama campaigning for him. In the end its all about the base.
Blaming election setbacks on a drop in voter enthusiasm, Congressional Democrats said Wednesday that losses in governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey — and a striking House win in New York — should give new urgency to their legislative agenda, including a sweeping health care overhaul.
As they assessed the results, Democratic lawmakers and party strategists said their judgment was that voters remained very uneasy about the economy and did not see Democrats producing on the health, energy and national security changes they promised when voters swept them to power only a year ago.
“Most of us ran on that,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and president of the party’s freshman class. “We must deliver. I need to give Democrats something to be excited about.”
Walt seems to be using fuzzy math. He won by a tiny margin of less than 5000 votes. Yet he seems to focus all his efforts on representing those voters on top of the pyramid that put him over the election threshold, to the exclusion of the voters at base of that pyramid upon whose shoulders those independents were standing. Walt won't be rescued by the senate Baucus bill which has already been derided as a corporate giveaway with punitive actions threatened against uninsured voters. Neither will he be rescued by Republican efforts to cobble together an alternative.
Walt's got a base problem, and waiting until next year to address it will undo everything he's done thus far in reaching to the middle. As one of the most endangered Democrats in a conservative district, Walt is making his loss in next year's election a self fulfilling prophecy by failing to dance with the people that brought him to the party. Walt seems to be boxing himself into a corner where the only solution is to seek a new base and change his party designation. This maneuver invokes a strong negative value from the lack of loyalty and, with it, has a considerable risk of rejection by the new partners. It would be a bold move and the primary is only six months away.