At his town hall meeting at George Washington University last night, President Obama at one point almost sounded like he was eulogizing House Democrats who made risky votes at their political peril.
“Something that I’ve been surprised about is how courageous a lot of members of Congress have been on some of the big, tough issues that we’ve worked on over the last 20 months,” the president said. “There are a lot of folks who took some really tough votes over the course of the last 20 months, knowing that it was bad for them politically; who voted for health care reform even though the polls said this would cause them problems in the next election; who voted for financial regulatory reform, even though they knew that by supporting it, it might attract big money pouring in and directing negative ads against them. And they did it anyway. And that was risky for them.”
The president specifically singled out as “folks who have been willing to stand up” Democratic Reps. Tom Perriello of Virginia, John Boccieri of Ohio, and Betsy Markey of Colorado, saying that they voted for his agenda “knowing that they might be putting their congressional careers at risk. And that’s been a pleasant surprise.”
The reflective tone, coming 20 days before the mid-term elections in which Perriello, Boccieri, Markey and other Democrats may way be shown the door by voters, is also seen in an interview with the New York Times that in the previous 20 months he let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend Democrat,” that realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” and perhaps should have “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” in the stimulus.