Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Joseph Cao

To Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, the only Republican congressman in the nation who had the courage to vote in favor of liberal health care reform... the only prominent member of the Grand Old Party who remembered that that organization was founded on the idea that the rights of the oppressed must always be placed before the wants of the rich and powerful (see abolitionism, the free soil movement, the last five paragraphs of Lincoln's first State of the Union address, the careers of Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette)... a man with the bravery to stand up to the millions of plutocrats, right-wing radicals, and covert racists within his own party, to say nothing of the innocent but scared people they've duped with their self-serving and/or hateful propaganda... and who may very well pay a dear political price for his willingness to think for himself...

To Mr. Cao, I have just one thing to say:

Thank you for showing yourself to be a truly great American. If the notion of gratitude has not been entirely extinguished from the hearts of humanitarians everywhere, a Profile in Courage award will be given to you within your lifetime.

PS: When Cao defeated nine-term incumbent William Jefferson in last year's House of Representatives election, he became the first Republican elected in the second district of Louisiana since 1890, as well as the first Vietnamese-American ever elected to Congress. At the time, House Minority Leader John Boehner sent out a memorandum to the entire party titled "The Future is Cao". For reasons Boehner no doubt never intended, history may prove him right.

Part Two:
"My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents."
- Joseph Cao (November 7, 2009)
Here are the thirty-nine Democrats who voted against the health care reform bill. Some of them opposed it because they believe in the policy of ideological appeasement (code named "centrism") advocated by the Democratic Leadership Council; some voted against it because they were afraid of a backlash from conservatives in their constituencies; and some voted against it because, let's face it, health insurance and pharmaceutical companies give nice, thick campaign contributions at just the right moment during a re-election campaign. Whatever their priorities may have been, though, what separates them from Cao is what their priority was NOT - that is, the health and welfare of their constituents.
- John Adler (NJ)
- Jason Altmire (PA)
- Brian Baird (WA)
- John Barrow (GA)
- John Boccieri (OH)
- Dan Boren (OK)
- Rick Boucher (VA)
- Allen Boyd (FL)
- Bobby Bright (AL)
- Ben Chandler (KY)
- Travis Childers (MS)
- Artur Davis (AL)
- Lincoln Davis (TN)
- Chet Edwards (TX)
- Bart Gordon (TN)
- Parker Griffith (AL)
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)
- Tim Holden (PA)
- Larry Kissell (NC)
- Suzanne Kosmas (FL)
- Frank Kratovil (MD)
- Dennis Kucinich (OH)
- Besty Markey (CO)
- Jim Marshall (GA)
- Eric Massa (NY)
- Jim Matheson (UT)
- Mike McIntyre (NC)
- Michael McMahon (NY)
- Charlie Melancon (LA)
- Walt Minnick (ID)
- Scott Murphy (NY)
- Glenn Nye (VA)
- Collin Peterson (MN)
- Mike Ross (AR)
- Heath Shuler (NC)
- Ike Skelton (MO)
- John Tanner (TN)
- Gene Taylor (MS)
- Harry Teague (NM)
Most shocking among these names is that of Dennis Kucinich. Apparently he wanted a single-payer bill, and when he was told he couldn't get exactly what he wanted, he decided that he wouldn't support any bill at all (even one with a public option). It is one thing to be an ideological stalwart, and quite another to be petulant.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Have you sent letters to the Democrats who opposed the bill? I haven't, but I did send one to my representative, Chaka Fattah, who voted in favor of the bill. I wish somebody would pressure these democrats by running more liberal candidates against them in the next primaries.