No one knows better than House Democrats how a contentious health care vote can exact a steep political price — losing control of the House in the first midterm election of an untested new president’s tenure for example.
As they hooted derisively at their Republican colleagues on Thursday after a narrow, party-line approval of legislation to roll back the Obama-era health care law, Democrats glimpsed the mirror image of their own politically disastrous health care experience. They also saw a prime opportunity to avenge their ugly 2010 loss and possibly recapture the House majority.
“I think they are staring death in the face,” Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said about the political prospects of dozens of House Republicans who were persuaded to back the bill by Republican leaders anxious to deliver a legislative win….
Relieved Republicans celebrated on the House floor and at the White House and said they had been in danger of retaliation from their own conservative base if they had not delivered on the pledge to repeal the law they had been promising to strike from the books for seven years. They say their candidates will have the experience and resources to fight off Democratic challengers.