Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi faced off on Saturday against entrenched Republicans and reluctant blue dog Democrats and managed to pull together just enough votes to pass the president’s health care reform bill.

Pelosi couldn’t resist gloating about the victory by claiming that it was a bipartisan effort thanks to the lone GOP vote from Louisiana Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao who joined the Democrats once it became clear the bill would pass with or without his vote.

At first blush this claim looks pretty ludicrous.  After all how can anyone in their right mind say that one vote out of 220 represents a true bipartisan effort?  But Pelosi was right she was just focusing on the wrong set of votes.  Thirty nine Democrats stood up to Pelosi and voted against the bill which represents a far greater percentage of the overall vote than the one Republican on the other side.

President Obama promised to reach across the aisle and end the bickering that had become the the norm in Washington.  Instead his actions have only widened the divide as evidenced by Saturday’s vote in the House and it will probably be an even tougher fight in the Senate.

Now that the House has put the health care vote behind them many of the Democrats who voted in favor of the bill will now be forced to defend their votes to angry constituents when they face re-election next year.

If the momentum built up from the tea parties continues into next year’s election November 2010 could be Obama’s Waterloo.

 

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