Saturday, July 04, 2009

Minnick and health care

As I've written, I think it's reasonable to give Walt Minnick quite a bit of room to be the conservative Blue Dog he ran as. And that is how he's been voting.

I was hoping that we could count on his vote for the big items, but so far I've been disappointed. He voted against the economic stimulus package and he voted against the energy/jobs bill. The next big vote is on health care. Here's to hoping that Minnick will support the plan favored by the majority of his party, even if it ends up including a "public option." I'm hoping, but certainly not expecting.

I guess Minnick is okay with House leadership to vote with the Party of No so often, so long as his vote is not a crucial tie breaker. If his vote really doesn't matter to the outcome of the bill, I suppose he's allowed to vote against it.

But I see two problems with this. One, by not supporting his fellows in the majority party, he is not racking up any chits and favors, and thus has little to call in should he ever decide to try to get something passed (instead of just voting no all the time).

The other, bigger, problem is that Minnick gives Republicans cover when he votes with them. S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham last week on one of the Sunday yak shows said that the true bi-partisan position on the energy bill was the Republican position, because so many Democrats voted with Republicans against it. So Minnick's vote, though not needed to pass the bill, was not harmless. It provided comfort to the Republicans and allowed them to argue it was an extreme position.


Tara A. Rowe said...

Thank you for keeping tabs on Minnick. I've wondered quite a bit about the vote that will determine where Minnick stands. Meaning the vote that he'll actually have to hold to his conservative leanings on (I'm being kind) or vote like a Democrat for the sake of the majority winning that vote. I don't know where the votes are on the health care bill, but it looks like Minnick will vote as he did on the stimulus--truly against the people of Idaho who need what both of these bills have to offer (jobs, economic boosting, affordable rural health care, etc.). It's going to get very interesting...

fortboise said...

I do put much stock in the "gives Republicans cover" argument. The Republicans are going to deride everything the Dems do, one way or the other.

If they all had voted together, the story line would be that they mindlessly followed the party line.

Given the culture of logrolling and pork barrel, every large bill will have good reasons to vote against it, and pecuniary reasons to vote for it. News was, Minnick was asked "what do you need to sweeten the deal so you can vote for this?" and he said sorry, can't vote for it.

I would have rather seen the discussion be, what needs to be changed in the bill to have it meet with your approval? Maybe there was no reasonable compromise for him, I don't know.

His June 26 press release did give ample specific detail about the problems he had with the bill, and I think you can take him at his word for what it says.

Just because we need to do something doesn't mean this Bill is it. I haven't read the 1,000-some pages of Legislation, and I imagine not many people have.

fortboise said...

should've used that preview function, eh?

I don't put much stock...

Bill Thomas said...

Minnick vote on health care I feel will determine if he gets re-elected. I have given him a copy of my documentary, "Rural Idaho Stories: living without health insurance" to encourage him to support major reform of the health care system, not the just the say no Republican message on health care. IF we do nothing, a lobbyist for the American Hospital Association stated the system would implode in just a few years. In my showing of the film around Idaho I find a lot of people across political views supporting even a public option. I hope Minnick will see the need for real change no matter what the political gamesmanship. The current system is not good for businesses especially small businesses. A recent poll shows that in Idaho a public option is favored by a majority.

Check out my documentary at

Anonymous said...

Rural healthcare is needed..
Loans in a low rate and we make it easy to repay it too