Commentary Magazine


Colorado Freshman at Risk Over ObamaCare

The Washington Post examines the plight of Colorado freshman Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey, who switched from no to yes on ObamaCare and is now, to say the least, at risk of losing her seat. (“Her vote left the endangered incumbent in an even more precarious position.”) Markey insists that all is well and that she’ll be rewarded for her vote. The Post dutifully digs up some constituents willing to praise her. But the signs are clear that this is just the sort of lawmaker likely to be sent packing by voters for following Nancy Pelosi and Obama over that precipice.

For starters, her rationale for vote-switching suggests she’s not all that bright — or thinks the voters aren’t. “She especially liked the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of how much the bill would reduce the deficit. ‘The clincher was the CBO score,’ she said.” Oh, good grief. Did she really believe a score that excluded the Doc Fix and ignored the phony double-counting was a clincher? Or was it the White House political spin — do it and the base will rally! — that pushed her to flip her vote?

A telltale sign of her predicament is that she seems not all that anxious to be associated with the president:

This year, Markey has the power of incumbency, but other factors work against her. She knows she will have to win reelection on her own. Would she like to have Obama back this fall?

“You know, if the president wanted to come, I would welcome him,” she said. Then she added: “I have not invited him. For me, this is going to be about what I’m doing in Congress.”

There’s good reason for that. In recent polling, Colorado voters disapprove of Obama’s performance by a 50 to 47 percent margin. Markey, after voting for Obama’s health-care monstrosity, will have her work cut out for her now as she must try to separate herself from the increasingly unpopular president. So it’s no wonder that Markey’s seat is now rated a toss-up by Charlie Cook’s Political Report (subscription required), which even before her health-care switcheroo explained:

Republicans will try to turn the tables on Markey by painting her as too liberal for the district and a foot soldier for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Unlike some other freshman Democratic colleagues from districts carried by McCain, Markey has not broken from the Democratic line on many legislative items thus far. After unveiling her sponsorship of the Employee Free Choice Act, or “card check,” Markey voted for Democrats’ “cap and trade” energy bill.

Markey may learn the perils of  hewing too closely to the Obama far-Left agenda and of ignoring her Republican-leaning district. And if her voting record proves politically fatal, her replacement will no doubt be among those unpersuaded by the phony CBO scoring and fully committed to repealing ObamaCare. As Obama said, that’s what elections are for.