Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY…. The AP did a nice job the other day, pressing the 39 House Democrats who voted against health care reform in November on whether they might vote for it now. The wire service found nine who were willing to say on the record that they are, at this point, undecided.

Looks like New Jersey’s John Adler is #10.

Rep. John Adler, a freshman who won a Republican-leaning district in 2008, is also undecided, after voting no last fall. He said the Senate bill did a better job containing health costs.

In an interview, he said he had spoken directly to the president about the issue and was not worried about Republican arguments that Democrats would pay a political price for supporting the health bill.

“I think people shouldn’t be worried about their careers. They should be worried about doing what’s right.”

It’s counter-intuitive, but Greg Sargent notes that “these quotes from Adler, interestingly, are being circulated by Republicans.” Apparently, the GOP wants Dems to fear the political consequences of success, and having Adler raising the prospect about “careers” being on the line reinforces the Republican message.

But I think there’s encouraging rhetoric here for Dems and reform proponents, too. For one thing, Adler sounds an awful lot like a lawmaker who might be willing to switch from “nay” to “aye.”

For another, it’s how Adler became undecided. As Greg explained, “[N]ote that Adler is urging fellow Dems to ‘do what’s right’ after having talked to Obama. The President has publicly and privately urged Dems to pass reform in order to put themselves on the right side of history. One assumes Obama will also argue to wavering Dems that passing the bill — giving Dems a concrete achievement they can sell to voters, rather than looking hapless and unable to lead — is better for them politically, too.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.