THE BLOG
05/15/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Does Defeating Marilyn Musgrave Give Betsy Markey the Okay to Vote "No" on Health Care Reform?

Rep. Betsy Markey (CO-4) voted against the initial House bill on health care reform. She voted "no" when it was clear that the bill would pass the House. After considerable thought, I would be dismayed if Markey's upcoming vote was about political positioning rather than a vote of her convictions.

Markey has declined to speak with the Denver Post about her vote and has not stated her position. This ambiguity is slightly offset by her introduction of a bill to eliminate the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies. Markey is willing to advocate for changes to the health care system but her refusal to come out in support or opposition to the current health care reform bill is still very troubling.

A few days ago, I was tempted to contact local Dems, Emily's List and anyone else who would listen to put more visible pressure on Markey. Then I remembered that without Betsy Markey I would still be cringing at every utterance and vote by Marilyn Musgrave. I've spent the past few days mulling over my reaction to Markey's unwillingness to publicly state her position. I know that Markey is Catholic. She might therefore agree with Bart Stupak's position that anti-choice House Members should vote "no." If Markey was swayed by Stupak she no longer has that as political cover since the Catholic Health Association has stated its support for the bill before the House. If Markey is going to vote "no" due to her interpretation of the abortion funding issue then she could simply say so and end the mystery of her decision. Her choice not to use abortion funding as an excuse to vote "no" makes it clear that Markey's vote is not based on her religion but on either her core beliefs or her political situation.

Markey's political dilemma is clear. Vote "no" and she may retain the independents and Republicans who were embarrassed to be represented by Marilyn Musgrave but lose the liberal base that she needs in the upcoming election. Vote "yes" and she gets the base but potentially loses independents and previous Republican supporters.

Defeating Musgrave is not enough - Markey must move forward and not rely on her past victory. Markey owes it to her constituents to have a position and openly state that position. No American deserves to be represented by someone who does not put conviction over politics.