Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), who was elected in 2008 to a seat long held by Republicans, just announced that she’s moved from the No to Yes column on health care reform.
Her brave decision could end up costing her a seat in Congress, as she was already facing a tough re-election contest this November.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is already labeling her Betsy Markey-Mezvinsky, in reference to former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-PA), who lost her seat for voting to support President Clinton’s economic plan in 1993. Margolies-Mezvinsky’s vote was needed to proceed with the policies that led to the longest peacetime economic expansion in American history.
So the NRCC is mocking Markey for being willing to pay a heavy political price for doing the right thing, just as Republicans in 1993 mocked Margolies-Mezvinsky for being willing to pay a heavy political price for doing the right thing. As The New York Times reported at the time:
As the voting went on, Ms. Margolies-Mezvinsky stood by the leadership desk, rubbing her arms nervously and hoping against hope that she could vote no to keep her skeptical constituents happy. As in May, the leaders held her in reserve to vote for the President’s five-year economic plan only if her vote was absolutely needed.
The first-term Congresswoman had come out against the plan, having won election last November in her Main Line district, a group of mythically prosperous Philadelphia suburbs where winning candidates usually wear striped ties, by only 1,373 votes. A former television newscaster in Washington, she was one of the surprises of 1992, and thousands of her constituents will now be paying higher taxes next year as she seeks re-election…
At the last moment the whips gave her the word that she was needed, and she walked down the aisle. One Democrat after another hugged her, patted her on the back and touched her as if she were Joan of Arc. As she finally voted aye, her Democratic colleagues cheered as the Republicans jeered, “Goodbye Marjorie.”