There are 435 congressmen and women in the House. 257 of those are Democrats. If the 178 Republicans vote as a block — as is expected — the Democrats would have needed 218 votes to prevail in tonight’s vote.

I watched the vote on the Health Care bill on CNN tonight. It was tense — better, frankly, than most of the World Series games.

For the longest time, the Republicans had 177 up on their side of the tote board while the Dems slowly clicked upwards — 215, 216, 217, and then 218, and a huge cheer. The Affordable Health Care for Americans Act, passed the House. Final score, 220 to 215. It is now ready to go to the Senate — probably with a lot more nail-biting.

Then something unexpected happened. Under the Republican column, the numeral one appeared. I was certainly curious, but it was many minutes before newscaster Don Lemon said it was a congressman from Louisiana. A southern Republican from Louisana broke ranks?

Yes. The man was Joseph Cao, a freshman congressman who grew up in Vietnam. In 2008, he beat the crooked Democrat, William Jefferson by only a 2% of the electorate. Jefferson is the guy who was caught with $90,000 in ill-gotten funds in a freezer in his home.

What strikes me as fascinating and heartening, is that there could be in this hyper-authoritarian atmosphere, a Republican strong enough to break ranks. The fact that Cao was seated next to Eric Kantor, the House Minority Whip, is even more impressive.

As I write I am hearing Nancy Pelosi thanking those who voted for the bill. I just heard her say the words “…they have courage.” I hope the freshman Republican is one of those on her mind.

5 Responses to “Joseph Cao, pronounced “gow” — with a “g” as in guts.”

  1. Dave Says:

    Would have been gutsier if he’s voted before they lost it. After the 218, he was free to vote his conscience. Good for him, even that much is a big deal.

  2. fwickham Says:

    Dave –

    Good point, but he is new. And I can’t remember what it was, but a few other things make me think he’s not out of the Republican cookie cutter.

  3. Jon Says:

    If you watch the news he simply voted along the electorate, his constituents,which
    are 65 % Democrat. He is just looking to get reelected, his vote has nothing to do with his views which is the case of most pols, unless of course they are being funded by big business like scumbag Lieberman.

  4. Fred Wickham Says:

    Jon –

    I think you’ve got to give him a little more credit than that. The Republican caucus is so fascistic that he is certain to get plenty of grief from them. Yes, he wants to get reelected, but before that can happen, even as an incumbent, he could be challenged in the primary — and in the election, by one of the cockamamie teabag parties.

  5. joan Says:

    holy cao!

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