Who do you trust in Florida politics?
If the epic health reform debate and current congressional legislative endgame proves anything, it's that Yes doesn't always mean Yes, and No doesn't always mean No, not when it comes to Politics - and especially not when it comes to Electoral Politics.
Time for True Blue Progressives to resurrect and reinvent the Reagan era "War on Drugs" slogan, and Just Say No to back-stabbing Blue Dogs Florida and nationwide.
Since the election of Barack Obama - a moderate, mainstream Liberal - as our forty-fourth American President, most Republican Party leaders and organizations have embarked on their own twisted version of a Three R's-style "re-education" campaign - Reflexive, Reactionary, Relentless efforts to discredit and derail every attempt by the Obama administration to reform the trio of corrupted, dysfunctional linchpins of American life: the economic system, the healthcare system, and the energy system.
Yet nationally and state by state, the GOP has failed to advance any credible, viable solutions to these most daunting of challenges we face as a nation. This is not a partisan attack, rather a statement of fact, based on careful analysis of what passes for meaningful Republican proposals in these three critical public policy arenas. "You could look it up", as pinstriped pundit Casey Stengel used to say.
The GOP has therefore been labeled by critics as "The Party of No" - and rightfully so. The decision has obviously been made at the highest levels of their national party and almost all of its state incarnations to zero in on and attempt to inflate and exploit the irrational fears lurking in some segments of American society.
I think we're past needing to itemize those irrational fears by now. We may debate how widespread they are, but we know that they exist, and we know what they are.
The thing is, there is a proud history of public service in America that runs counter to this trend, that has been and is dedicated not to the inflation and exploitation of such fears, but rather to the sensitivity to and easing of them - for the greater good, for the benefit of uniting and uplifting struggling working and retired Americans and their families, rather than dividing them for political and economic gain.
Which brings us to the curious case of Suzanne Kosmas, first-term Blue Dog Democrat "representing" Central Florida's historically conservative-leaning 24th U.S. Congressional District. Kosmas voted No on the historic House of Representatives version of a health reform bill that passed anyway on November 7th, 2009, by a thisclose 220-215 margin of victory.
House Energy and Commerce Committee research shows that among other potential accomplishments, the House version of the bill that Kosmas voted No on would have the following direct impact on Kosmas' district by:
"¢ Offering subsidies that would help pay for health insurance coverage for up to 176,000 more households.
"¢ Closing of the notorious prescription drug "donut hole" gap in prescription drug coverage for over 120,000 Medicare beneficiaries, while strengthening the overall Medicare program