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Issue One: Altmire's no vote

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

Act of Betrayal

U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire's decision to vote no on the health care bill should reveal to his constituents all they need to know about their congressman.

Mr. Altmire won his seat in 2006, when anger at President George W. Bush and the Republicans made it nearly impossible for a Democrat to lose. Then, in 2008 he rode to re-election on the coattails of the incredible energy generated by President Barack Obama's candidacy.

But when the time to govern finally arrived last Sunday, what did Mr. Altmire do? He abandoned the party and president that helped elect him. He sacrificed the interests of the nation to his own (mis)calculation of his selfish political interests. Mr. Altmire now defends his vote by parroting the lies that have poisoned the public discourse over the past year.

Mr. Altmire's actions make it clear he lacks the courage and commitment to the public welfare that separates the self-interested politician from the statesman. He has revealed himself to be the worst type of opportunist, running as a Democrat when it was impossible to lose and abandoning his party and his so-called principles the moment it was politically expedient.

Constituents of the 4th District should reconsider their support of Mr. Altmire in November.

DAVID MANEL
Shadyside

Real leadership

Your editorial "Vote of Weakness: Altmire Betrays the Democrats and His District" (March 22) states, "By voting no, Jason Altmire turned his back on his president and his party, and today he stands as a Democrat in name only."

What you ignored is that Rep. Altmire did not turn his back on his constituents, who made it very clear to him that they did not want this bill to be passed. Mr. Altmire mustered the backbone to tell President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that this was a bad piece of legislation that would add to the growing deficit, thus harming "the future children" that the Post-Gazette pretends to care so much about.

The PG is correct that this was a landmark vote, but only because this flawed bill was unable to gain the support of even one member of the opposition party, while 34 Democrats voted against this push toward socialism. We should be proud that some of our local representatives voted their consciences rather than succumb to the back-room bribery of the current leadership, most of whom will be retired and enjoying their own special health care coverage long before the effects are felt by those left to pay the $940 billion cost.

JOE WERTHEIM
Mt. Lebanon

  

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