by Andrew Walden
Concerned about continued liberal anguish over Neil Abercrombie’s abandonment of Obamacare, today’s Honolulu Advertiser instructs its readers not to discuss Neil Abercrombie’s “arrogance”, his “bad planning” or his “putting his own ambitions ahead of his constituents.”
The Advertiser’s editors are deeply worried that:
Even people who aren't especially hostile to Abercrombie are annoyed by his departure from Washington, which will leave Hawai'i's First Congressional District unrepresented for months. And that departure comes at a time when many important issues — health care reform at the top of the list — have not been resolved in the House.
Blame it on bad planning or arrogance or putting his own ambitions ahead of his constituents….
Abercrombie has been trying to put out this fire since the story broke February 8. He’s even tried to blame it on “conservative bloggers.” But Hawaii progressives are still steaming as their last chance to nationalize healthcare slips away thanks to Abercrombie “putting his own ambitions ahead of his constituents.”
After the Star-Bulletin and Hawai`i Free Press ran February 11 and 12 articles highlighting Abercrombie’s betrayal, he hit back with a commentary published in the February 19 Star-Bulletin. Apparently intending to distract Hawaii progressives, Abercrombie claimed:
Recently, the Star-Bulletin published an article ("House will feel loss of Abercrombie," Feb. 11) and wrote an editorial ("Minus Abercrombie, health care reform needs true bipartisanship," Feb. 12) suggesting that national health care might hinge on my vote in the House.
The source of this hypothesis is a blogger for the conservative American Spectator who theorized that the death of U.S. Rep. John Murtha and a handful of resignations including mine would turn last November's 220-215 vote for health care reform in the House into a 216-216 tie.
But akamai readers aren’t fooled. In fact Neil Abercrombie himself promised to see Obamacare through in his January 1 resignation statement. First to point a finger at Abercrombie was not American Spectator but Investor’s Business Daily and progressive website FireDogLake writing just after the death of Rep John Murtha (R-PA). Several hours before the American Spectator piece, FDL’s David Dayen pointed out:
Abercrombie’s departure would have changed nothing before Murtha’s death, but now it does – it would bring the House down to 432, with 217 votes still needed for passage – and only 217 members who voted for the House health care bill still in the House. And with the HC summit scheduled for Feb. 25, I don’t see much room for a vote before Abercrombie leaves. I’m guessing he’ll be pressured to stay if his vote is needed.
Abercrombie’s Star-Bulletin commentary drew a response from American Spectator’s Philip Klein who explained:
“…it was Abercrombie himself who said that it was important for him to stick around to be a vote for the health care bill. Here’s what Abercrombie said in his statement announcing his retirement in January:
“‘Since announcing my intentions, I have consulted closely with the people I have worked with during my 19 years in Congress, including members of the Hawaii congressional delegation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the chairmen of two of my committees, the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. These discussions have helped me to ensure that I will be able to fulfill the remaining duties requiring my presence in the House. This work, most notably, involves providing my continuing support for legislation on health care and the Akaka Bill.’”
After three weeks with this kind of failed damage control, no wonder the Advertiser is reduced to telling its readers to shut up.
Just wait ‘til Mufi resigns.