Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Healthcare Vote costly for Democrats

Via The Hill, if there was one Golden Thread woven through the fabric of last night’s crushing defeat in the House of Representatives, it was that Democrats who voted for the final Obamacare legislation were mowed down like weeds.

The evening started pretty well for Democrats who voted for healthcare reform, with Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky handily winning reelection with 54.5 percent of the vote. Yarmuth's seat was listed as "likely Democratic" in the Nov. 1 edition of The Cook Political Report, one of 77 "yes" vote seats in play Tuesday evening.

Things quickly went downhill from there.

Within hours, a dozen members had lost reelection, including four freshmen elected in the 2008 Democratic wave: Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye of Virgina and Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson of Florida.

They weren't alone: Democratic Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) and Allen Boyd (Fla.) quickly joined them. So did Pennsylvania Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper, Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski, all of whom were main targets of the anti-abortion-rights group the Susan B. Anthony List.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who voted for the bill when her vote was crucial but later voted no on reconciliation, was also defeated.

The trend is even worse when factoring in yes votes who weren't running for reelection.

Retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.) left Democratic candidate Brett Carter to get pulverized by Republican Diane Black, 29.3 percent to 67.5.

The Hill piece doesn’t mention the Michigan 1st District, where retiring Bart Stupak had his seat snatched away by newcomer Dan Benishek. It was Stupak’s compromise on his pro life principles that led to the final vote last March, and that compromise cost the Democrats a seat that had been in their hands for many years.

If this tells Congress anything at all, it tells them that the American people don’t want Obamacare.  They want it repealed, and they were willing to turn out long-serving Democrats in order to make their voices heard.  Yes, last night was a referendum on President Obama, but it was also a referendum on his “signature” legislation.  They don’t like it, don’t want it, and they were disgusted by the way it was rammed through.

Republicans will almost certainly resubmit legislation to repeal the law when the 112th Congress is seated.  Democrats who survived last night should take heed.  The American people are watching you, and you’re just as likely to get your asses kicked as your former colleagues were last night if you don’t listen.


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