Obama health reform legislation, already the subject of an American political contest for the history books, hinges this weekend on the votes of about 12 conservative fence-sitting Democrats. They are now the target of intense campaigns for and against reform and they are the subject of a brief round-up piece at Politico this a.m. Will they or won’t they? There’s just too much March Madness going on everywhere!
The piece breaks the undecideds into three categories: The Retirees, The Nail-Biters, The Besieged, The Misfits. Politico places Colorado Rep. Betsy Markey, even though she confirmed Thursday she would vote yay on the bill, into The Besieged bracket.
Here’s an example of the pressures [The Besieged] face on the health care vote: When Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.) revealed Thursday that she would vote yes on the measure, she was immediately greeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee with a derisive press release referring to her as “Betsy Margolies-Mezvinsky” — a reference to Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, the freshman congresswoman from Pennsylvania who her lost her seat in 1994 after biting the bullet for her party and casting an especially tough vote in favor of President Bill Clinton’s budget.
Here’s the intro, laying out the story:
While the varying whip counts remain inexact and the outcome unknown, one thing is certain as the health care reform drama hurtles toward its conclusion: The last two dozen or so votes for the bill will come at considerable cost to the undecided House members who cast them.
Some of those currently uncommitted lawmakers have serious philosophical and moral concerns about the measure. But for many — almost none of whom can admit it publicly — the political calculus is undeniably playing a role in their decision-making process.
The trick, then, to understanding where these members will end up is to understand where they are coming from, because their malleability in the final hours will almost certainly be proportional to the precariousness of their political situation.