Blue Dog on a Short Leash

Joseph Ashby
In one of the most blatant cases of campaign promise betrayals in recent memory, NY-23’s Bill Owens has recanted on four of his more moderate positions on health care.

The first was his support of the “pubic option.” In summer’s dog days, when town hall meetings were scaring the daylights out of current and aspiring Democrat office holders, Owens came out against a government-run insurance company. On August 11, Politico reported :

Bill Owens, who hopes to replace Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), has come out against the public insurance option, saying it doesn't belong in the House health reform bill. Owens is actually a registered independent, another sign that some Democrats running in conservative districts may need a little distance from President Obama for the time being.

Politico’s Glenn Thrush proved prophetic by writing “for the time being.” Just over a week before the election, when the furor over the public option was off front pages and out of nightly newscasts, Owen said he generally supported a government-run insurance company.

Three other promises stood through Election Day, but died within one hour of Owens assuming office. Gouverneurtimes.com reports:

Mr. Owens also indicated during his campaign that he was firmly opposed to cutting Medicare benefits, taxing health care benefits, and increased taxes on the middle class in any way….

In sudden, soul-selling fashion, Owens has promised to vote for the House Health Care bill that runs counter to all of the above “firmly” held positions.

Politicians breaking campaign promises is not new. But making complete switches on four principal aspects of the most important (and potentially disastrous) domestic issue in a generation, all within about a week of an election, is low -- even for Washington D.C.

In one of the most blatant cases of campaign promise betrayals in recent memory, NY-23’s Bill Owens has recanted on four of his more moderate positions on health care.

The first was his support of the “pubic option.” In summer’s dog days, when town hall meetings were scaring the daylights out of current and aspiring Democrat office holders, Owens came out against a government-run insurance company. On August 11, Politico reported :

Bill Owens, who hopes to replace Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), has come out against the public insurance option, saying it doesn't belong in the House health reform bill. Owens is actually a registered independent, another sign that some Democrats running in conservative districts may need a little distance from President Obama for the time being.

Politico’s Glenn Thrush proved prophetic by writing “for the time being.” Just over a week before the election, when the furor over the public option was off front pages and out of nightly newscasts, Owen said he generally supported a government-run insurance company.

Three other promises stood through Election Day, but died within one hour of Owens assuming office. Gouverneurtimes.com reports:

Mr. Owens also indicated during his campaign that he was firmly opposed to cutting Medicare benefits, taxing health care benefits, and increased taxes on the middle class in any way….

In sudden, soul-selling fashion, Owens has promised to vote for the House Health Care bill that runs counter to all of the above “firmly” held positions.

Politicians breaking campaign promises is not new. But making complete switches on four principal aspects of the most important (and potentially disastrous) domestic issue in a generation, all within about a week of an election, is low -- even for Washington D.C.