Sen. Michael Bennet is not a cynical careerist
“If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?”
Every congressman should have to answer this question directly. In this case, however, David Gregory asked it of Sen. Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat appointed to Ken Salazar's seat. Bennet answered very simply: "Yes."
Bennet, it should be said, is a vulnerable senator. He's a moderate Democrat in a swing state who was appointed to his seat with no electoral skills or existing political base. But maybe that accounts for his clarity on this question. Bennet was formerly chief of staff to the mayor of Denver and then superintendent of the city's school system. He has never made the compromises that lead to reelection, nor learned the complex set of rationalizations that lead so many politicians to justify those compromises. He can, presumably, imagine life after elected politics, in a way many career politicians can't. He's not learned how to say "no" to Gregory's question yet, or come to believe that he should. It's a refreshing attitude, and on some level, the only peculiar thing about it is that it's so rare.
November 23, 2009; 11:56 AM ET
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