Possibly the biggest political loser last night was Joseph Cao. The pro-life congressman had been the only Republican “yes”vote for the Healthcare bill in November, but voted against this bill that did not contain the Stupak Amendment. “For me abortion is such a moral evil, at a par with slavery, that I cannot in good conscience support a bill that seeks to expand it,” Cao told The New Orleans Times-Picauyne. See Quin’s post for more on Cao’s reasoning.
Now the Republican who represents one of the most liberal districts in the country, New Orleans, has to explain his “no” vote to constituents. According to Washington Post, 24 percent of the district is uninsured. Voters may appreciate that he stood on principle, but National Journal reports that his opponent is already attacking him as being swayed by Republican fundraising. Cook rates the District as D+25, Cao won a special election in 2008 against William Jefferson, who was recently convicted on eleven corruption charges.
Update 5:55: Responding to Quin’s second post, I would clarify that I was only discussing Cao’s re-election chances this fall. Regarding his career beyond 2010, Cao himself has equated a “no” vote on healthcare to the end of his political career. Cao may have been unfairly pessimistic and may have a political future beyond representing District 2 — Quin makes the point that in the longrun strong principles are attractive politically — but in the more immediate future he is running for re-election as a Congressman in New Orleans. I’ve yet to see anyone make the case that Cao helped his re-election chances yesterday, but perhaps this vote could propel some fundraising that was lacking since his first healthcare vote in the fall.
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