Will a vote against health care reform come back to haunt Rep. Brian Baird?
UPDATE: The FBI is investigating a death threat against Baird. Details after the jump.
Rep. Joseph Cao is getting a lot of attention for the way he voted late Saturday night on the health care reform bill that passed the House. The freshman from Louisiana was the only Republican to say "yea" in favor of the 10-year, $1.1 trillion dollar plan, making him a friend of the White House and an enemy of his own party.
Looking for the Democratic ying to Cao's Republican yang? Head south to Brian Baird's third district.
Sure, by making good on a promise he gave on Friday, Baird was one of 39 Democrats to vote "nay." But most of the opposition bloc consisted of "Blue Dogs" and Southern Democrats in name only. Baird is neither.
In fact, Baird was one of only five House members whose districts voted in favor of Obama. Furthermore, his was the lone dissenting Democratic voice from the Pacific Northwest.
Cao's vote of support is already being defined as make-or-break for his career. Baird is standing on considerably more solid ground -- no opponent has gotten within 10 points of him in six elections. But should we be asking the same thing of his opposition?
On August 6th, Baird made news for telling Rachel Maddow that he'd be suspending his town hall debates in favor of conference calls and that the coordinated efforts to disrupt them reminded him of the atmosphere before the Oklahoma City bombing. As The News Tribunereports, four days later Baird's office received a threatening voice mail.
The message said: "You think Timothy McVeigh was bad, there's a Ryder truck out there with your name on it."
Baird's office declined to comment. And because threatening to blow up anyone, especially a Congressman, is a pretty serious offense, the FBI has now taken over the investigation from U.S. Capitol Police.