The N&O recently wrote, for example, that the “middle is a dangerous place”.
With our politics particularly polarized, it is increasingly difficult to be in the middle. Take 8th District Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell of Biscoe. Although he is the first Democrat to hold the seat in a decade, he had a stiffer-than-expected challenge in the Democratic primary because he voted against the health care legislation.
It’s true that Democrats that helped elect Kissell are frustrated that he would vote against health reform. The larger problem is not his vote, but his prevarication.
In statements, editorials, and campaign mailers he continues to misrepresent reform. When pressed, he changes his justifications for voting against reform.
He says that he does not want to cut Medicare. But he will not specify what Medicare provision in the bill he opposes. Is it the gradual reductions in Medicare Advantage benchmarks to reduce overpayments in high cost areas like Miami and Los Angeles? Is it the alteration of market basket updates that the Obama administration negotiated with hospitals? That’s the bulk of Medicare changes. Which one of these two provisions will cause seniors to choose between food and medical care?
If Kissell simply said that he canvassed his district and found that even after correcting the misinformation his constituents oppose reform — then his vote would draw less opposition. I could certainly accept that explanation.
The problem is that Kissell isn’t providing an honest defense of his vote. That’s the behavior some people have come to expect from typical politicians. But a typical politician is not what Kissell supporters thought they were getting.