Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Democrat who has twice
campaigned for president as the leftmost candidate, voted against the
original health care reform bill. Saying that it did not go far enough
Kucinich expressed plans to vote against reform again when it comes to
the House, likely this week. But with the stakes
higher and vote counts closer than ever
, President Obama traveled
to Ohio on Monday where he called publicly for Kucinich's vote. It looks
to have worked: Newsweek's Howard Fineman reported
Tuesday night that Kucinich will vote yes, which the
Congressman is expected to confirm
at a 10
a.m. press conference today. What does this strange political dance
between a liberal Democratic president and a more-liberal Democratic
Congressman mean for health care, for the party, and for Kucinich?
For Wavering Dems? Hot Air's Allahpundit is skeptical.
"The question is whether this is being coordinated with the White House
to create momentum among holdouts and whether anything
[Kucinich] says is capable of creating momentum. It’s not like he’s some
bellwether for Blue Dog sentiment; he’s a single-payer advocate who
needs to be convinced that the best way there is incrementally, with
this as the first step. Why a Kucinich flip would sway, say, Jason
Altmire is unclear to me, but momentum is momentum, I guess."
Compromise, For Once Balloon Juice commenter Redshift praises
Kucinich for choosing governance over idealism. "I generally agree that
Kucinich advocates for positions that he thinks are best for the
American people, but that’s not the same as doing what’s best.
The job of politicians is not just to hold principled stands that are
too pure to ever get implemented. It’s to get things done for the people
you serve, to make things better even if you can’t get what you know
would be best."
- Reveals 'Rift' In NetRoots Left
BuzzFlash's Mark Karlin sighs, "Sadly for the progressive
movement, we are split now between the social idealists and the
pragmatists." By infighting over things like Kucinich's vote, instead of
unifying in opposition to the GOP, Karlin says liberal Internet
activists are marginalizing themselves and reducing their collective
- Betraying The Left Hard-left liberal Jane Hamsher, who opposes health
care reform, rebukes Kucinich. His promise to vote "no" was, for
Hamsher, a show of important defiance to Obama's compromises. "A
thousand people have donated over $16,000 to Dennis since yesterday to
thank him for standing up for what he believes in. We’ll be asking him
to return it."
- Kucinich Could Bring In Activists Open
Left's Chris Bowers asks, "While
Kucinich is the last House Progressive holding out on the bill, and thus
can't bring anymore votes with him, it is worth asking whether his
support brings along any progressive activists." Some liberal activist
groups, opposing Obama's compromises, have caused political problems for
the White House.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.