Monday, November 23, 2009

John Adler's Awful Vote against Health Care Reform

When I lived in New Jersey, I volunteered for an idealistic progressive congressional candidate from my hometown, Haddonfield, who went on narrowly to win his race. John Adler was someone who fought for health reform while in the state senate, who had a near-perfect environmental rating, and who fought for substantial ethics and school-funding reforms. I'm honestly not quite sure, then, who the person is now voting against Democratic-bills in congress and who makes really poor justifications for doing so, such as this explanatory letter in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In his defense, Adler does raise the specter of the rising cost of health care, but he voted against a health care reform bill that would shave hundreds of billions of the federal deficit, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The new health care reform bill would extend health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, extending coverage to nearly 94% of all Americans. At the core of such reform is a necessary public option that would finally provide real competition to the private insurance company monopoly over health care services. Representative Adler voted against these core issues when he voted "no" on health care reform.

I held my nose when Representative Adler voted earlier in the year to allow firearms into state parks, a clear misinterpretation of the Second Amendment and a vote that was blatant pandering to the conservative right. It is little wonder that political analysts are calling Adler's vote a "serious political miscalculation" and a "vote against Obama." But Adler's vote against health care reform, along with supposed Republican "moderates" such as LoBiondo and Lance, is nothing short of heresy and a betrayal of his progressive principles. If I were still living in New Jersey, I would not volunteer for Adler's reelection campaign and would encourage others who supported his 2008 campaign to hold him accountable for his weak-kneed pandering to the right-wing at a moment of truth, real health care reform. Perhaps, had Adler been serving in congress in 1935, he would have voted against establishing Social Security for seniors because of a few concerns over the bill. He did what was the same thing when he was on the wrong side of history and voted against health care reform in 2009.

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