There was exactly one Republican congressmen who voted in favor of Obama's healthcare bill. Ahn "Joseph" Cao of Downtown New Orleans, a district more liberal, on average, then Seattle, Washington - populated almost entirely by African Americans and hyper-urbanites who live in 500-square-foot lofts and go to parties all the time. The devil-may-care attitude of his hometown has led at once to a brilliant and sophisticated culture, utter extravagance and excess, and monstrous levels of poverty, crime, general sleaziness, and finally, corruption. He was elected as a pro-business, moderate, no-nonsense, relatively innocent and squeaky clean Vietnamese immigrant Republican against a Democrat who had been caught with 85 grand in his freezer.
His district probably has a lot of people without medical insurance. We know his district is generally very economically liberal, and so his conservative votes on the Stimulus and Cap-and-Trade likely had serious repercussions for him back home. His election was entirely the product of a two-party system and the lack of competition it creates. In short, something had to give.
I know a lot of conservatives are very angry at Mr. Cao, but they should realize that if he does not occasionally throw his constituents a bone - especially one that, from the special interests viewpoint alone, would be so delicious to them - he WILL lose this seat. If he keeps this seat, the GOP may have the opportunity to expand its presence not only in New Orleans, but in Inner City America in general, the kind of frontier expansion that Republicans have not really engaged in for a long, long time. May I remind you that we are not in the majority right now.
Beyond this, it may indeed have been a vote of conscience. Follow this link to see for yourselves. In particular, he used his bargaining power to arrange for an amendment, Stupak-Pitts, that will prevent federally funded plans from covering elective abortion, producing an effective abortion tax. Consider also that this fellow is VERY Vietnamese, and as such probably has a more collectivist view of life then is normal here in America. To him, denying some people medical freedom to protect the vitality of the whole probably (though I will emphasize probably, as I cannot see in to the mans head) does not seem quite so bad, and if he can get an anti-abortion amendment doing it, well that's just twice as good now isn't it?
So no, I do not believe Ahn Cao is a "traitor." Reagan himself said "you only have to vote with your party 80% of the time." I continue to follow his career with special and keen interest and to recognize the unique constraints on his power as a legislator as a result of his district. Like it or not, America is a democracy. Ahn Cao continues to provide a more clear and business friendly and hardwork oriented path for the people of New Orleans and to promote Conservative interests across America through his cooperation from a group of people (the inner-cities) that so far no other Republican has really reached out to. He voted with us on the Stimulus and the Cap-and-Trade, and this is a vote (Downtown New Orleans) we normally wouldn't have.