Sunday, February 28, 2010


It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. - Aesop

Today on This Week, host Elizabeth Vargas and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the following exchange about passing health care reform:

VARGAS: ... What do you say to your members, when it does come to the House to vote on this, who are in real fear of losing their seats in November if they support you now?

PELOSI: Well first of all our members -- every one of them -- wants health care. I think everybody wants affordable health care for all Americans. They know that this will take courage. It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare. And many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill.

But the American people need it, why are we here? We're not here just to self perpetuate our service in Congress. We're here to do the job for the American people. To get them results that gives them not only health security, but economic security, because the health issue is an economic issue for -- for America's families.

I think Pelosi has a good point. Ideally members of Congress should be about more than just getting themselves re-elected. The problem is that it’s very easy for Pelosi to say this: she has been in the House since 1987 and took 71.9% of the vote in the 2008 elections. So I wonder if she’d be willing to take the same stand if there was any chance she’d lose re-election this November, if it was her service in Congress that was in danger of not being perpetuated.

Here’s my proposal: Nancy Pelosi should tell her fellow House Democrats that if the House passes a health reform bill and the Democrats lose their majority in the House, she’ll resign. From the House.


Cataloochee said...

I saw the interview on Sunday and agree with her. If those democratic congress members really believe that health care reform is essential and that their constituents just don't get it, vote for it and take your chances at the polls. If it is the right thing to do, then just do it! They are not there to preserve their jobs, but to serve the people who elected them.

We are not a democracy, but a representative republic. We elect these folks to make the best decisions for the country, not just take an opinion poll and then cast their vote. I don't want every citizen voting on every single bill before congress. I'm not convinced that all Americans are capable to understand the issues. I want the best and brightest in DC.

Enough ranting. I like your idea of Pelosi offering to resign from the house if they lose control. It would put some "skin in the game" for her and maybe give some in her caucus spines.

Elise said...

It's an interesting line to walk. Yes, if the members of Congress believe something is truly the right thing to do they should do it. But where does that cross from integrity into condescension and arrogance?

As a practical matter, if the Democrats pass health care reform in the face of substantial opposition and then lose control of Congress, does the bill they pass get repealed?

Texan99 said...

I don't see it getting repealed by the 2/3 majority that would be required to overcome the inevitable Presidential veto.