You've got to have a surplus of political creativity to criticize an opponent for voting as your guy would have, as opposed to going the other direction. So props to Cory Gardner campaign manager Mike Ciletti for pulling off a difficult routine regarding Democratic Representative Betsy Markey's "no" vote on the massive federal healthcare bill.
Earlier this week, Ciletti declared that "her vote was actually worse than a yes vote." How so?
"It was typical Washington politics," Ciletti says. "She waited until the very end to make her voice heard, and before that, she did everything she possibly could to help the bill pass."
During the lead-up to the final balloting, "there were various votes, including one to recommit, which means to send it back and discuss it further, and various amendments, like taxpayer funding for abortion," Ciletti goes on. "And throughout the day, she was voting lockstep with Nancy Pelosi. And then, like several other vulnerable Democrats, she waited until the end of voting, when the Democrats knew they had enough votes for passage, to vote 'no.'"
This sequence of events convinces Ciletti that Markey's vote was one of expediency, not conscience. "There's no doubt in my mind that it was carefully calculated," he maintains. "She knows this legislation is out of step with her district, and that's why she voted against it -- but only after doing everything she could to help it pass."
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No ambiguity in the reasons Gardner opposes the bill. "First and foremost, we're talking about government intrusion," Ciletti says. "We're wrecking a system that serves 85 percent of the population for the other 15 percent, as opposed to fixing what's wrong with that 15 percent. Cory likes some of the solutions being put forth, like being able to sell insurance across state lines. But the heavy hand of government isn't the answer on this one.
"That's not to say the insurance industry is free and clear," Ciletti insists. "We need to hold them accountable and make some changes in the industry. But we're blaming them for a system that was created by Washington."
As for Markey's backs-and-forths on the bill, Cilleti argues that "the American people want consistency, and they want their politicians to be honest. If there's anything to come out of the last eight years, and the birth of Tea Parites and the 912 Movement, it's that folks are tired of Washington as usual. The games played by Nancy Pelosi, like holding the healthcare vote on a Saturday -- they're not going to stand for that anymore. And they're certainly not going to stand for it in the 4th Congressional District," which Markey currently represents, much to rival Gardner's chagrin.
That was a difficult maneuver -- but Ciletti stuck the landing.