Friday, March 19, 2010

Paging Dr. Altmire...

And from 2PJs:

From the web site of Rep. Jason Altmire (D Health Care/UPMC Lobby-PA). Read it and weep, folks:
"I ran for Congress in large part because I believe we need to find a way to bring down the cost of health care. I also ran for Congress with a simple promise: I would do my best to represent my district and to give western Pennsylvania a voice in Washington, not the other way around.

"I regret that this year-long process of debating health care reform has resulted in a final product that I cannot support. The cost of inaction on health care is great, but it would be an even bigger mistake to pass a bill that could compound the problem of skyrocketing health care costs.

"Simply moving money around within the existing system, rather than enacting real delivery system reform, might change who pays the bill, but it does not improve the quality of care or reduce costs for families, small businesses, or the federal government. It creates a system of winners and losers, rather than reforming the system in a way that lets everyone win. It is estimated that after passage of this bill, federal health care expenditures would likely increase above what they would under current law.

"It has become clear that the vast majority of my constituents want me to oppose this bill. Particularly hard hit would be western Pennsylvania’s Medicare beneficiaries, which many experts believe would experience dramatic premium increases with enactment of this bill.

"I am acutely aware that my decision to vote against the health care bill will disappoint some of my constituents and alienate supporters of the bill. The politically easy vote would have been to vote with my party. But I was not sent to Congress to take the easy way out or to vote the way they want me to vote in Washington. I was elected to represent my district and give western Pennsylvania a voice in Congress. I strongly believe that a vote in opposition to the health care bill is consistent with the views of the district I represent, and is the correct vote based on the impact of the bill on my constituents and the overall health care system."
Why is my bullshit detector going off?

On one hand he's saying that he wants to reform health care, while on the other he's saying that he can't support the biggest (albeit far from perfect) reform to health care within his lifetime. Now, if he was disappointed that the bill didn't go far enough, I could understand and, while I would be vexed about his choice, I could at least agree that much more needs to be done.

But even the very liberal Rep. Kucinich eventually agreed that, in this case, half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.

The whole response smacks of a calculated attempt to retain a seat rather than doing what's right by the country. That's a shame. I mean, what's the benefit of having a Democrat in PA-4 if he's not actually going to, you know, vote for Democratic legislation; might as well have voted back in Missy Hart -- at least we would know how she would have voted.

Rousseau postulated that representatives should reflect the views of their constitutents, but Hamilton and Madison both argued that constituents are stupid as hell and could be ignored, less government descend into mobocracy. Both views of representative government are valid, but bear in mind, one out of three of those political philosophers is, and this is no insult to the people of France, a dirty, dirty Frenchman.

And so no Mr. Altmire, you were not sent to sent to Congress to take the easy way out or to vote the way the Democratic party wanted you to vote in Washington. You were sent to Washington as a small part of a larger hope that across this country we could elect people that weren't total ball sucking, bent-over, ankle-grabbing, twatwaffles.

I'm sad that we were wrong about former Representative Altmire.


Michael Tedesco said...

Well that about sums it up. I don't think old horse face will have such a hard time beating Altmire this time around.

Brad Fisher said...

Jason, you're now a DINO.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too tough on Rep. Altmire. He's got a tough campaign ahead.
In any big deal like this, party leadership counts noses and decides who can vote "no."
My guess is this is what happened here--Altmire's vote was not needed, his "no" vote has Pelosi and Hoyer's blessing.

Brad Fisher said...

I'm sure that's the way it's working out. Good to keep that seat for the democrats. In an ideal world, as the Prez said yesterday, good policy should also be good politcs.

Blue Number 2 said...

He might hold on to his seat this time but the entire Democratic committee in his district, in Allegheny County at least, has just now written him off. His best bet, if he survives this time, will be to switch parties. I wonder if that's part of his calculus at this point.

But let me take exception to one of his premises. Yes, your job as an elected representative is to advocate for your constituents in Washington. But your job is also to advocate for Washington in your district. If Washington is doing something that your district doesn't fully understand, it's your job to explain it and persuade constituents why it is a good thing. This is where he comes up short in my book.

Sherry Pasquarello said...

i will never vote for him again. i convinced quite a few people to vote for him last time and i feel very bad about it, after the cheap stunt he pulled.

adhocheretic said...

How does twaffles sound for an Altmire nickname?

You'd then get to explain the long form after the inevitable curiosity.