In your "Vote of Weakness" editorial (March 22), you failed to mention one other critical group with whom Rep. Jason Altmire stood -- the people he represents. While this may be surprising to partisans, Mr. Altmire's obligations are to represent the will of his constituents, not his party, the president or some ethereal notion of the historical moment.
Given that his district voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 and gave Sen. John McCain an 11-point margin over President Obama in 2008, it's hard to fathom how any thoughtful person could attempt to argue that Rep. Altmire's vote against the health care bill was anything other than the proper vote for his district -- regardless of how that person viewed the merits of the legislation.
Perhaps partisans are quick to forget that in 2006 the Democratic National Committee recruited candidates whose philosophies more closely mirrored their districts than the traditional Democratic Party denizen, understanding that because of that philosophy these Democrats would not vote in lock-step with the party on matters that were important to their districts.
In arguing that Rep. Altmire was a coward, the editorial board and those who argue in kind demonstrate either a wanton disregard of the duties of a representative or a convenient forgetfulness of the circumstances surrounding Rep. Altmire's election and the district he represents. If it's deemed reasonable to label a congressman who represents his district a coward, we truly have descended into a sorry time in our politics and our discourse.
From partisans, it is to be expected. From the Post-Gazette, we expect more.