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Obamacare Votes 'Could Prove to be Their Political Death'

12:52 PM, Oct 31, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Congressional Democrats' pro-Obamacare votes "could prove to be their political death," the Hill writes.

In a story entitled, "House Dems who pushed health bill to passage face grim Election Day," the Hill reports that "polling shows that Democrats have lost the message war this year on the landmark health law and in tight races, the yes votes could be the deciding factor."

The Hill continues:

Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Debbie Halvorson (Ill.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Steve Driehaus (Ohio) and Betsy Markey (Colo.) were all late yes votes on health reform. Most, if not all, of them will lose on Tuesday, according to nonpartisan campaign experts. 

Other Democrats who announced their support in the last few days before the March 21 vote are in tossup races, including Reps. Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Chris Carney (Pa.) and Bill Foster (Ill.).

Conversely:

Obama and Democratic leaders in the House pressed Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) to back the final measure, but he ultimately voted no. Altmire, a GOP target, is favored to win reelection and has repeatedly touted his independence from Democratic leaders in Washington. 

Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), a perennial GOP target, irritated House Democratic leaders with his no vote. Barrow had to sweat out a primary challenge but is now in Cook’s “Likely Democratic” column. 

Obama and Pelosi urged Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.) to back the bill, but he rejected it. That vote infuriated organized labor, but McMahon is in now in decent shape to win reelection in a district that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) captured in 2008.

The Hill says, "While some Democrats who voted no, such as Rep. Chet Edwards (Texas), are heavy underdogs, it is clear that, in most cases, a no vote was the wise choice from a survival standpoint."

The Hill quotes Bruce Cain, the public policy director of the University of California Washington Center, as saying, “In the end, it’s one of these cruel situations where a yes vote hurts you and a no vote doesn’t help very much."  In truth, however, the only thing cruel about this situation is that the Democrats tried to shackle the American people with government-run health care in the form of a more-than-$2 trillion new entitlement program (in just its real first ten years) that they didn't want and can't afford. But, thankfully, we live in a democracy.

“In a poll of battleground districts this fall conducted for The Hill, nearly one in four Democrats said they favored a repeal of the health law” the Hill reports. “A strong majority of independents in the survey said they want the new law rescinded.”

Despite all of the evidence of Democrats in nearly identical districts facing very different electoral prospects on the basis of their Obamacare votes, the Hill reports that Curtis Gans, the director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, "said the economy trumps everything," and "by and large, healthcare is not the leading issue.”  As I have written elsewhere, the Democrats wish that were so.

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