Missouri, “Show Me” the way!

This morning’s big news comes from the “Show Me State,” where Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure designed to block the introduction of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance.  Upwards of 70 percent of voters approved the measure, which passed by a margin of more than 2 to 1. (While supporters of the health care law, and thus opponents of the referendum, will claim that turnout in yesterday’s primaries was low and therefore skewed, it’s worth pointing out that the referendum occurred in August and not November largely because Democrats in the state Senate insisted on holding the vote now.)

A sampling of quotes from this morning’s articles on the Missouri ballot effort:

Activist Annette Read, who organized the ballot effort, in an AP story: “To us, it symbolized everything…The entire frustration in the country … how our government has misspent, how they haven’t listened to the people, this measure in general encompassed all of that.”

Contractor Mike Sampson, also quoted by AP:  “I believe that the general public has been duped about the benefits of the health care proposal.”

C.C. Swarens, executive vice president of the Missouri State Medical Assn. backing the referendum, in an LA Times story:  “There is just a backlash against everything Washington right now.”

Republican state Senator Jane Cunningham, in a New York Times story:  “My constituents told me they felt like their voices had been ignored and they wanted Washington to hear them…It looks to me like they just picked up a megaphone.”

Republican state Senator Jim Lembke, also quoted in the New York Times:  “This really wasn’t an effort to poke the president in the eye…First and foremost, this was about defining the role of state government and the role of federal government.”

Again, the overwhelming approval for the Missouri referendum comes at a time when the Senate is considering the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  Ms. Kagan has not only said that Congress should be granted due deference when it comes to defining interstate commerce; she has gone so far as to suggest that passing a law requiring individuals to eat three fruits and three vegetables a day could be constitutional.

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