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Dan Maffei March 2010: Obamacare “burns the village in order to save it” (#NY24)

Dan Maffei March 2010: Obamacare “burns the village in order to save it” (#NY24)

Yet 8 days later Maffei agreed to support Obamacare in a turning point for Democrats.

Although I live in the NY-23 congressional district, we’re in the NY-24 (Syracuse) television market.

NY-24 is represented by Democrat Dan Maffei, who portrays himself as a moderate Democrat. Maffei is being challenged by John Katko.

(Dan Maffei and John Katko)

(Dan Maffei and John Katko)

Maffei first was elected in 2008, but lost his seat in 2010 by a few hundred votes, only to gain it back in 2012 with less than 50% of the vote (a third party candidate received almost 8%).

Now the race is tight.  Roll Call rates it “Tilts Democratic” (in contrast, NY-23 is rated “Safe Republican”).  The Cook Political Report rates it a “Toss-up” (NY-23 is rated “Solid Republican”).

While Maffei led in the polls over the summer, that has changed dramatically.  According to the Sienna Poll released two days ago, Katko now is in the lead:

Republican John Katko has seized the momentum and surged past U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei to open up a 10-point lead in their race for Congress, according to a new poll by Post-Standard and Siena College.

In a stunning reversal from five weeks ago when Maffei had an 8-point lead in the joint poll, Katko now leads Maffei among likely voters 52 percent to 42 percent. Only 6 percent remain undecided.

It is only the second independent poll to be made public in a campaign that has attracted national attention and $6.4 million in spending because the 24th Congressional District is considered among the most competitive House races in the nation….

The Maffei campaign immediately challenged the validity of the poll, and released its own internal poll from a week ago. That poll by Global Strategy Group showed the congressman with a 5 percentage point lead.

As everywhere, Obamacare is a big issue.

The NRCC has been running attack ads hitting Maffei on his support for Obamacare (see Featured Image).

Maffei’s support for Obamacare in 2010 was considered a turning point in Democrats’ effort to pass the law, as reported by the L.A. Times in March 2010, Health bill picking up key votes:

“The president really convinced me that this is our last, best chance to enact healthcare reform,” said Rep. Dan Maffei of New York, a first-term Democrat who announced his support of the bill this week after being called by chief White House lobbyist Phil Schiliro, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Obama. “There isn’t really a next time.”

That vote for Obamacare was a flip for Maffei, as reported at the time by The Weekly Standard, Rep. Dan Maffei of N.Y. Goes From Undecided to ‘Yes’ (emphasis added):

Rep. Dan Maffei of Syracuse voted for the House health-care bill, but was none too fond of the Senate bill as recently as March 8:

I will trust the president, but I will not trust the Senate,” Maffei said. “The Senate bill, in my view, burns the village in order to save it. I will say, however, the president’s direct involvement gives me hope they will come up with a compromise.”

Today [March 16, 2010]:

“I’m proud to support this legislation, because it is going to expand coverage, lower costs and finally stop so many of the unfair practices insurance companies have been using for too long,” Maffei said. “While reform process isn’t pretty, we’ve debated this bill long enough. In fact, we’ve talked about reforming health care for decades. Doing nothing is no longer an option.”

That Senate Bill, which Maffei said in March 2010 “burns the village in order to save it,” was the bill Maffei voted for, with minor “reconciliation” changes.  The Senate could not make major substantive changes to the bill because Scott Brown’s election in January 2010 deprived Democrats of a filibuster proof Senate majority.

Dan Maffei’s flip-flop on Obamacare was a pivotal event in ultimately convincing enough Democrats in the House to swallow the Senate bill, which then was signed into law by President Obama.

Given Maffei’s 180-degree reversal on Obamacare before supporting it, whether Maffei even read the Obamacare bill before voting for it came up in a recent debate:

Katko accused Maffei of not reading the bill before it was passed.

While Maffei messed up the Dickens reference, he said he made a point to read the Obamacare bill.

“First of all, John is just making things up now. I did read the bill. It was not very interesting because it’s written in legislative language, but I actually made a point of reading the bill because Tea Partiers were telling me you don’t read the bill,” Maffei said. “I read the whole bill.”

So Maffei insists he did read the bill. Maybe that’s why in March 2010 Maffei said Obamacare “burns the village in order to save it.”

The airwaves have been inundated with attack ads, but I’ve yet to see Katko or the NRCC hold Maffei to that chilling statement about burning the village to save it:

Dan Maffei Obamacare burns the village in order to save it

The date was March 8, 2010, a mere 8 days later, Maffei announced he would support burning the village.  And he still does.

Will the people in NY-24, whose healthcare village was burned by Maffei’s support for Obamacare still vote for him?

We’ll find out in less than a week.


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Excellent post, Professor.
I look forward, optimistically, to the answer.

So what we have here is a legislator who knew that the law was bad, but still voted for it.
We have here a legislator that puts faith in the “Supreme Leader” above the Rule of Law.

He should not be a legislator.

[…] William Jacobson points out one race in particular where ObamaCare has become a massive albatross to an incumbent House […]

Another Voice | October 31, 2014 at 1:04 am

Kudos to Prof. J. for bringing coverage to the area of his neighbors yard where the dynamics of the up coming mid-term elections make the old saying “All politics is local” more relevant than ever and of the voices being heard not just in the red states, but blue states like NY.

Maffei’s lifetime ACU rating is 10.67, equivalent to an 89.3 ADA rating.

That’s a far left rating, not a ‘moderate Democrat’ rating.

He is too far left for the district – IF the district were paying attention.

Note, too, that Mr. Maffei was dumped out of office in the 2010 “wave” mid-term election, in part because of his newly-discovered and outspoken affection for the Obamacare beast.

And then – no, we’re not forgetting – voted Yes during the stub-session shenanigans that cheated that abomination through the House late in 2010. Prior to his official (though temporary) eviction.