In a statement which would indicate his opposition to the poisonously-unpopular Obamacare bill was less based on principle and more a sop to Louisiana’s voters, Rep. Charlie Melancon told POLITICO yesterday that he’s not in favor of repealing the legislation.
“Washington has spent over a year debating health care. We now need to turn our time and attention to creating jobs for Louisianians and strengthening small businesses. While I opposed the health care bill because of its costs, there are many insurance company reforms in this bill that will benefit Louisianians, like the ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions or dropping people’s coverage when they get sick,” he said.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh jumped on Melancon’s statement, echoing a line many have felt all along was the truth about Melancon’s “no” vote on Obamacare.
“Once it became clear to Nancy Pelosi that she didn’t need his vote, he was given a pass. But when forced to actually stand by his campaign trail rhetoric, Melancon tucks tail and runs. I’m sure this profile in courage will go over real well with voters in Louisiana. In fact, I would love to be down there the first time he tries to explain this Potomac two-step in person just to see the reaction.”
Melancon’s opponent in the upcoming U.S. Senate election, incumbent David Vitter, offered one of 29 amendments yesterday on the Reconciliation Bill passed in the House to “fix” Obamacare. Vitter’s amendment would repeal the entire legislation, and it went down to defeat by a 58-39 vote (two Republicans missed the vote, but all GOP senators present joined Vitter). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that repealing Obamacare would be the Republican’s top priority if they captured control of that body in November, though Sen. John Cornyn stoked a big controversy among conservatives by stating they won’t likely go for a full-on repeal but rather strip out all the bad things in the bill. Daniel Foster at The Corner defends Cornyn to an extent by noting that the 29 amendments in the bill present something of a preview of the death-by-1000-cuts strategy the Texas senator envisions.
House Minority Leader John Boehner sounded a more nuanced note yesterday, saying that a Republican House Majority next year would refuse to fund Obamacare; as Allahpundit on HotAir notes that is “blowing smoke” but it could well produce results not dissimilar to the Democrat majority’s threats to de-fund the Iraq War in that benchmarks for performance in health care can be forced on the president who would otherwise be in a position to shut down the government with a veto (or accept a government running on whatever continuing resolution fumes the GOP would let out of the House until the 2012 elections ended).
Either way, Melancon’s opposition to a full repeal won’t be perceived by the voting public in Louisiana as a nuanced approach endorsing Boehner or Cornyn’s strategies. It will be seen as Charlie Boy coming home to Nancy Pelosi’s embrace, just as he’s done some 84 percent of the time since the Democrats took the House in 2007. A “no comment” answer on repeal of Obamacare would have been a much smarter strategy.