CommunityFDL Action

Altmire’s Faulty Math

teapartysign3smJason Altmire seems to think that if Democrats get their asses kicked today, it just proves he’s right about everything:

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) argued that an election night rebuke for Democratic candidates across the nation could lead some in the party to rethink their plans on healthcare reform and other issues.

“It looks as though the anger that has been boiling up the last couple of months is going to lead to a pretty high turnout from Republicans and from people who are concerned about increased spending,” Altmire said Monday evening during an appearance on Fox Business Network.

“And I do think that if the results show Republicans have a pretty good night, that probably is going to lead some Democrats to think that, going into next year, we need to take a second look at the way that we’ve done a lot of bills we’ve addressed up to this point,” the Pennsylvania congressman added.

photo by bluejeantshirt

Give me a minute while I clean my keyboard of all the coffee that just came out my nose.

The teabaggers who are going to drive through a tornadic supercell unleashing hail stones the size of golf balls to get to the polls today do not have a particularly nuanced view of health care.

The problem that Democrats will have at the polls is not motivated Republicans, it’s unmotivated Democrats. Altmire has taken $118,000 in campaign contributions from health care interests this cycle, and activism from the Democratic base (you know, the “motivated” ones) has made it difficult for him to deliver on donations from Humana, Wellpoint and BlueCross/Blue Shield.

Even in relatively conservative states like Arkansas and Indiana, polling indicates that Democrats are less likely to vote for Blanche Lincoln (by a margin of 49%) and Evan Bayh (by a margin of 51%) if they oppose a public option. And Independents are breaking with Democrats on the issue. So, I’m not quite clear who Altmire is planning to motivate with poll-swarming zeal by deep sixing it.

Maybe the rich comprise a better percentage of the Democratic base than I thought, because that’s who Altmire seems to be fighting for:

  • July 17:  Altmire voted “no” as a member of the Health & Labor Committee against 3200 because of wealth surtax.
  • September 11:  Altmire:  “I – I’m speaking for myself, I think that the public option may, if it’s done correctly may be a part of the package and could play a role. As Congresswoman Woolsey described, it would have to [be] airtight, completely self-sustaining, not funded through taxpayer subsidies, and have to meet all the same insurance regulations. So, I don’t think that is the sticking point for the Blue Dogs and the moderate members. I think what we are most concerned about is we have to do this in a fiscally responsible way.”
  • September 22: “Altmire’s chief complaint about his own chamber’s bill was the inclusion of a surtax on the wealthy. But he said he didn’t expect that provision to make it through, and he signaled that excluding it would allow him to vote for the final bill.”

Altmire is a former lobbyist for UPMC, the huge hospital chain and health insurer with $5.5 billion in annual revneue.  He joined the Blue Dogs earlier this year.  As a second term Congressman from a conservative leaning district who came into office based on high Democratic turnout in 2006 and 2008 elections, he seems to be remarkably blithe about the interests of those he needs to show up for him.

(photos by bluejeantshirt)

Previous post

What Happened in Virginia?

Next post

Mary Landrieu Doing Health Care Event With Senate Leadership

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
Subscribe in a reader