You don’t suppose that the Washington Post (via HuffPost)suspects there might be a connection between campaign contributions and the votes of House members on the health care bill, do you? Because WaPo has a chart showing the vote of every Rep. on the health care bill in November, his intent on the coming vote, the amount of campaign contributions he’s received from the health care industry and the percentage of his constituents that are uninsured.
If WaPo is of that cynical turn of mind, I have to say that the chart is far from providing proof. For example, the industry gave $81,050 to Emanuel Cleaver. I mean, this is Cleaver we’re talking about. He wouldn’t vote against that health care bill under any less compulsion than a gun to his head. All that contribution shows is that the health care industry has way too much moolah it can afford to squander. And did they seriously think that $201,280 would sway Lacy Clay or that $217,462 might net them Russ Carnahan’s vote? I guess people with excessive profits to throw around and a lot to lose will hedge every bet. There is this to be said about the largess handed out to Missouri Democrats: the least money went to the solidest yes vote and the most money–$250,754 to Ike Skelton–went to the single no vote. (And considering that 16.8 percent of Skelton’s constituents lack insurance, that is one odious vote.)
Contributions on the R side are almost as nonsensical. The industry gave $367,501 to Todd Akin. What for? It’s not like there was a snowball’s chance he’d vote for health care reform. Less than 8 percent of his constituents lack health care, so they approve of him preaching the gospel of independence. And besides, he’s genetically incapable of empathy much less of having enough sense to see that health care premiums will eventually sink this economy. A handshake and a smile would have kept him in the anti-reform camp. Sure, he’d have resented not getting paid off, but he’d have cut his right hand off at the wrist before he’d vote for a socialistic bill.
Predictably, Roy Blunt raked in the most, almost two and a half million–that, despite the fact that almost twenty percent of his constituents lack health care. Let them eat cake. Roy Blunt has one finely honed skill as a congressman: attracting campaign cash. As night follows day, big business money follows Blunt.
Do you suppose Jo Ann Emerson is jealous? She only got a half million, although she has the exact same percentage (19.8) of uninsured constituents as Blunt. If either one of them were going to entertain the notion of voting for reform, it would have been Emerson, not Blunt. So where’s the justice? On the other hand, a half mil isn’t peanuts.
Sam Graves got almost as much as Emerson ($414,399) and Luetkemeyer–because he’s a lowly freshman?–only tallied $61,200. That’s less than Cleaver got. What?
Anyway, like I said, I just don’t see that these numbers prove any intent to corrupt our legislators. The honchos at Wellpoint could claim that the chart is evidence only that they’re not all that bright in how they dispense their contributions. And, they would add, anyone who thinks congressmen got paid for their votes is either too cynical or is living a paranoid fantasy.