August 4, 2009


Freshman Terror: As Blue Dogs fret about health care, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky can relate. The woman who cast the deciding vote on Clinton’s 1993 budget talks about holding all of Washington in your hands. (Benjamin Sarlin, 8/04/09, Daily Beast)

It has become clear that the fate of a health-care overhaul, the first major piece of legislation in the Obama administration, rests on the votes of a handful of nervous freshmen Democrats. And there’s perhaps no person in the world that understands their plight better than Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who achieved 15 seconds of fame in 1993 when she cast a brave vote for Bill Clinton’s first budget—and then watched her political career go up in flames. [...]

Like many of today’s Blue Dogs, Margolies-Mezvinsky was a freshman who had won a surprise victory in a conservative district during a strong Democratic year. But Clinton's budget put her party loyalty to the test. [...]

Margolies-Mezvinsky believes she would have won reelection if not for her budget decision, but the vote handed her opponent a cudgel to wield in the campaign. On Election Night 1994, she was finished after a single term.

The bitter irony for Democrats is that the budget deal was totally unnecessary. Not only was the economic slowdown not a recession but we were in the process of blasting out of it thanks to the Reagan Peace Dividend, which would provide the entire GDP percentage by which the budget went from deficit into surplus. Of course, that was also why Republicans were dead wrong about the likely effects of the rather negligible tax increase that Democrats included in their plan, but that's politics....

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2009 9:26 AM
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