Time's Newton-Small Focuses On Cao Vote, Glosses Over 15.1% of Dems Defecting On PelosiCare

<p>Saturday's vote to pass ObamaCare out of the House of Representatives was a nail-biter, passing with two votes to spare over the bare-minimum majority of 218. The final vote, 220-215, had 39 Democrats join all but one Republican in voting no.</p><p>Yet while a solid 15 percent of the Democratic caucus bucked the party leadership with their no votes, the media have latched on to the sole Republican defector: pro-life, social conservative Catholic Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who has a tenuous hold in a solidly liberal Democratic district once held by the corrupt William Jefferson. </p><p>Time's Jay Newton-Small <a href="http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/11/07/one-gop-vote/" target="_blank">made much of the solitary Republican defection</a> in Swampland blog post on Saturday, painting it as an abject failure of House GOP Whip Eric Cantor's &quot;promise&quot; to keep the opposition unified. Newton-Small had to add an update later clarifying Cantor made no such explicit promise:</p><div class="artTxt" style="line-height: 135%"> <div class="snap_preview"><blockquote><!--break--><p>After House GOP Whip Eric Cantor <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/11/cantor-promises-tea-partiers-... the Tea Partiers unified Republican opposition on Thursday</a>, I assumed there wouldn't be any defections. After all, he succeeded in whipping total opposition to the stimulus and the budget. <a href="http://www.rollcall.com/news/40402-1.html">Word has it, though, that Republicans are worried about Rep. Joe Cao</a>, a Louisiana Republican who took William &quot;$90,000 in the freezer&quot; Jeffferson's seat. Cao is a former Jesuit priest who votes in line with the Catholic Bishops. He won his seat in 2008, barely edging out Jefferson 50% to 47% despite the fact that Jefferson was under indictment at the time. President Obama won the district last year with 75% of the vote. Rumor has it that <a href="http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/11/obamas-favorite-republican.html... Emanuel and Nancy Ann DeParle </a>have been leaning on Cao to follow the bishops and vote for the bill if the Stupak amendment passes.</p><p>Update:<br /> Eric Cantor's office quibbles with the idea that he &quot;promised the Tea Partiers unified Republican opposition.&quot; The actual quote: &quot;Your efforts to stop this bill are being heard loud and clear and I will guarantee you that we are committed to making sure that not one Republican will vote for this bill.&quot;</p></blockquote> </div> </div><p>So one Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic district votes for the health care bill AFTER a key amendment assauging his concerns about subsidizing abortion with tax dollars is passed. The House Speaker and the White House chief of staff expended energy to get this token &quot;bipartisan&quot; support and only after the Democrats peeved the pro-abortion lobby, a key player in Democratic primary politics, by passing the Stupak amendment.</p><p>Yet somehow the real story is that the GOP's party whip was weak and unable to deliver a unified opposition? </p>

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters