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WP Threatens Dem Over Healthcare Vote

From the front page of the Washington Post:

N.C. voters steaming as Rep. Larry Kissell (D) turns against health-reform bill

By Philip Rucker
Friday, December 18, 2009; A01

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — To voters in this hard-luck town where stable factory jobs and the health care that came with them have long since disappeared, change looked good a year ago. Change came not only from President Obama, who narrowly won this swing state, but also from a millworker-turned-high school civics teacher who had no political experience but ran on a promise to bring a progressive everyman’s sensibility to Congress.

Fueled by the liberal grass roots, Democrat Larry Kissell stitched together a winning message about jobs and kitchen-table concerns, including rising health insurance costs, and he rode the Obama wave to unseat a five-term GOP congressman by 11 percentage points. Democrats here rejoiced. Finally, they were sending to Washington a representative to fight for their interests — and to help enact the new president’s agenda.

Now, one year later, the euphoria has given way to second thoughts at best and outright rebellion at worst. Kissell is siding with Republicans on Obama’s top domestic priority, fixing the nation’s health insurance system, and his "no" vote has enraged fellow Democrats.

As they plunge into next year’s midterm contests, Republicans and Democrats are making dicey calculations with their health-care votes, each weighing the demands of their party’s base against the political climates of their districts. With Republicans opposing the bill in lock step, the White House needs a fragile coalition of Democrats to enact reform, but it is vulnerable Democrats like Kissell who form the greatest obstacle.

And that is why Democrats here are steaming.

"People want change, and when someone puts their foot in the door to kill the whole thing, that’s what has them riled up," said Michael Lawson, an African American leader of the state Democratic Party and one of Kissell’s constituents. "It’s almost like ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ but Mr. Smith turned out to be somebody that wasn’t Mr. Smith."

When the House passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on Nov. 7, Kissell was among 39 Democrats who voted no. Like Kissell, many of them are endangered freshmen from traditionally conservative districts, trying to appeal to conservatives and independents.

Still, Kissell’s vote is perplexing considering the need for health-care reform here in the largely rural 8th Congressional District. The district, at the heart of the state’s weakened textile industry, stretches from Charlotte to Kannapolis to Fayetteville and was shedding manufacturing jobs even before the recession. Now, about 20 percent of residents younger than 65 have no health insurance — among the highest rates in the nation — and the bill would provide coverage to about 85,000 who are uninsured, according to a congressional analysis of census data

Like most members of Congress, he has been deluged with calls, e-mails and letters from constituents, which his office said ran about even through August — when opponents of the health-care effort became more organized nationwide. Since then, his office said, correspondence from constituents has come in about 2 to 1 against the legislation

You see, Mr. Kissell has been duped by Big Insurance and other nefarious astro-turfers.

Many Democrats here gave him money and knocked on doors for him because they saw in him a break with the partisanship of Robin Hayes, his Republican predecessor.

In one vote, that sense of possibility was dashed, as many local party leaders said they think Kissell has become transformed by the sometimes dirty business of governing and the compromising quest for reelection…

Er, it sounds to us like the problem is that Mr. Kissell is being less partisan.

"They feel betrayed," said June Mabry, chairman of the state Democratic Party’s 8th District. "They’re not expecting him to be an absolute puppet, but this is a watershed vote for the United States."

Grace Liem, a nurse practitioner at Community Free Clinic, which serves the uninsured in Concord, was an Obama delegate at the Democratic National Convention. "We felt [Kissell] was one of us and could empathize. He’s not…”

"Why would he jump the Democratic ship and vote against his party’s signature, number one issue when there’s a very compelling case for health-care reform in this district?" asked Nancy Shakir, head of the Cumberland County Progressives. Shakir and other Democrats staged a rally last month outside Kissell’s Fayetteville office, where people waved signs reading "Blowing the Whistle on Kissell" and "Give Kissell a Big Dismissal."

"I expected him to go up and fight with other Democrats to bring true reform," said Ruth Derrow, 64, a Concord Democrat who voted for Kissell. "If he’s only in there one term, then make it a good one term."

"It’s sort of like which devil do you fear the most?" asked Gary Pearce, a longtime Democratic operative in North Carolina. "Are you more afraid of the party base or are you more afraid of the health-care reform opponents?"

Kissell picked the latter, and it may have been the wrong bet. Conservatives who oppose the reform effort are unlikely to vote for a Democrat regardless of how he votes, Pearce said, yet Kissell cannot win reelection without the support of his base.

"That’s why they call them freshmen — because they make freshman mistakes," he said. "That’s why a lot of them don’t become sophomores."

Every day it gets harder to see the difference between organized crime and the Democrat Party and their media outlets like the Washington Post.

Except that the Democrat Party doesn’t have the Mafia’s quiet dignity.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, December 18th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “WP Threatens Dem Over Healthcare Vote”

  1. jrmcdonald says:

    With God and the Devil, Who do you think is the liberal? Follow your heart Mr. Kissell.

  2. Right of the People says:

    “I expected him to go up and fight with other Democrats to bring true reform,”

    That’s the whole point, he IS fighting with other Democrats. He’s fighting to keep a bad bill from becoming an even worse law. I think maybe Mr. Kissell is a closet conservative who duped the people of South Carolina, good for him.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “That’s why they call them freshmen — because they make freshman mistakes,” he said. “That’s why a lot of them don’t become sophomores.”

    Yes, because to be a sophomoric twit, you have to be stupid and arrogant. (Like Letterman)

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    2 to 1 against the legislation.

    That says to me that he is doing the job his constituents want him to do.
    I wouldn’t goose step with the Nazi Dems either. Most are doing the partys’ bidding instead of what their people want them to do.

  5. wardmama4 says:

    LD and that is why our freshman Dem is going to be only a one term Representative – his calls as early as July were a 1000 to 1 against (yes, it still boggles me, as to how a Dem got elected to represent this very conservative area) – yet he voted for the monstrosity – because of the Stupak amendment – which we all know will be cut when the two monstrosities are merged into a real scr**ing of the American citizens.

    He blithly still goes on and on about the ‘broken’ system – They should all be run out of town before this bs gets any further.

    God Help America.

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