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The long, hot summer has only just begun for members of Congress. With the House already in recess and the Senate soon to follow, the health-care brawl is shifting from Washington to town hall meetings all over the country. Jim Cooper's sweating already, as well he should.
As a Blue Dog Democrat and purported health-care expert, he's more than a little responsible for the delay in voting in Washington. That has given the insurance industry, talk radio blowhards and all the rest of the president's conservative critics what they wanted all along: Time to unleash scare tactics, drum up public opposition and beat up lawmakers.
So if health care reform collapses, Cooper gets a lot of the blame. The pressure seems to be getting to him.
Compared with 1993-94, when President Clinton tried to reform health care, there's "much less health provider hostility, and much greater citizen hostility," Cooper tells the New York Times.
The volume of incoming messages "is about wearing out our 12 interns, plus my regular staff," he adds. "It's probably going to be a rocky August for everybody."
More from Cooper
in the LA Times:
"We are getting thousands of phone calls and e-mails, many deeply angry. Some want to do nothing, others want to do everything. We can't distinguish between what is just grumbling about change and what is a precursor of an earthquake."