Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Profile in political courage

When you see a politician acting on principle -- particularly when he knows it probably will be the end of him -- it's important to take note of it.

Mainly because it almost never happens. Not today. Not in Washington, a town of small ideas and smaller men (and women).

New Orleans' "accidental congressman" might stand just over 5 feet tall, but if you ask me,
he's the biggest man in D.C. From a Saturday story in The Times-Picayune:
Earlier in the day, Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, the only member of the Louisiana House delegation who had not weighed in on where he stands on the health reform bill, said that he cannot support any bill that permits public money to be spent on abortion.

"At the end of the day if the health care reform bill does not have strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion, then the bill is really a no-go for me," said Cao, who studied to be a Jesuit priest.

"Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice," Cao said. "I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives.

"I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career," Cao said, "but I have to live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, 'How does it profit a man's life to gain the world but to lose his soul.'"

Cao said he is still undecided about the merits of including a public option in any health reform redesign. On Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that Cao will be one of seven Republican members of Congress targeted with radio ads that will play on radio stations with largely African-American audiences, urging him to support Obama's health reform efforts.
LISTEN, LET'S BE BLUNT. Asian intellectuals usually don't go far in majority-black, majority-poorer-than-hell political districts. They really don't go far in New Orleans, a place where everything is about race . . . and grievance.

Anh Cao is congressman because then-U.S. Rep. "Dollar" Bill Jefferson was under indictment and African-Americans largely stayed home during the Dec. 7 general election. If Cao wants to stay in Congress, major obsequiousness is required.

Bucking President Obama and dissing the Dems is not the way to future electoral success for this Republican in a strange land.

Democrats will run their ads, and they'll convince the people -- well, at least most of the black people -- of Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District that the Vietnamese lawyer wants to let the black man (and woman) die for lack of health care.

WHAT THE ADS won't say, of course, is that a strong majority of congressional Democrats want taxpayers to pay for killing highly disproportionate numbers of African-Americans in the womb. The Dems won't cop to this because that might raise serious questions.

Questions like "Who's the racist here?"

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