Opposition to health care expected to dominate November electionRepublicans running against Democratic members of Congress may make "repeal health care" their battle cry this campaign season.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Republicans running against Democratic members of Congress may make "repeal health care" their battle cry this campaign season.
Democratic Congressman Dave Obey has voted in favor of overhauling health care every time it has come up, including during the Nixon and Clinton administrations. But he says this time around, the intensity of the opposition is "out of line." He says this weekend he and his staff were accosted by health care opponents outside Congress, calling them “"bastards, socialists, communists, traitors and slime."
One of Obey's Republican opponents, Portage County organic farmer Dan Mielke, plans to make health care a major campaign issue. And he says he understands the feelings of the Washington protesters. Mielke says passing the bill was a slap in the face of "every American's rights and freedoms," and he believes it's a "greater offense when our elected leaders spit in our faces."
Obey doubts health care will cost him or his Democratic colleagues re-election, but he says that's up to the voters. Obey says health care reform is an issue that's worth getting beat. He says Congress is supposed to do things that enhance the quality of life, not re-election prospects.
Obey says the fervent opposition is one reason health care hasn't passed before now even though it's been proposed by administrations since Teddy Roosevelt.
Another of Obey's Republican challengers, Sean Duffy, did not get back to Wisconsin Public Radio with a comment on Sunday night's health care vote on Capitol Hill. But in a fundraising email sent by the campaign, Duffy calls the health insurance overhaul vote a "naked power grab," and says he is more determined than ever "to show Obey the door."