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Chris Dodd offers up some real talk

Chris Dodd really let loose on the floor of the Senate this morning, blasting his colleagues who've painted health-care reform as a relentlessly partisan process that allowed no input from the minority party.

It's a good speech, and it makes some good points. Sen. Mike Enzi, for instance, had more than 40 amendments accepted in the HELP Committee's bill and spent months writing the Senate Finance Committee's legislation as a member of the Gang of Six. Very, very few Democrats had anything like the influence accorded to Enzi. And if Enzi had actually wanted to trade his vote in return for more changes to the bill, he could have done even more to decide its final shape. Yet now he's asserting that no one has given him a voice in the process. It's a bit like whining that the game is going on without you when you refused repeated invitations to play.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 10, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
 
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Comments

Good to finally hear. Compared to how the Republicans treated the minority during their tenure, they have been treated like demi-gods during this process. They should have recognized a good deal when they saw it and tried to work with the Democrats instead of making demands and then obstructing everything in their path - Obama would have jumped on any chance to secure solid Republican backing as would have the Senate leaders. You saw this first hand with Olympia Snowe.

Posted by: kmani1 | December 10, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

One thing that struck me were the amendments Republicans were proposing. Not the amendments themselves, but that the Republicans are actually proposing changes while decrying that they haven't been given the chance to do so. They are publicly denouncing the healthcare bill while actively formulating policy.

This bodes well for the final vote, whether I agree with the policies included or not. Republicans can fight the bill every step of the way and then turn around and claim they've brokered a good deal with all their amendments at the last second, justifying their eventual vote.

I read before that a similar situation occurred with Medicare and Medicaid, where Republicans fiercely opposed proposed legislation but then signed on at the last minute when it was obvious said legislation was going to pass and be immensely popular.

Posted by: flightofheaven | December 10, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

No, its a bit like whining that the game is going on without you when everyone else refused to admit that you had already won before the game started. Republicans have essentially demanded that the only way to be bipartisan is for Democrats to accept a purely Republican bill. The thing that pisses me off is that Democrats have in some ways come disturbingly close to doing exactly that. I don't see why, when Enzi pulled out of the negotiations, for example, any of the compromises made with him stayed in the final bill. If they were all made to make him happy, and he decided it was impossible for him to be happy under any circumstances, why weren't all his amendments immediately deleted and the bill put back the way it was? When you refuse to play, shouldn't your influence vanish instead of lingering?

Posted by: member5 | December 10, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Poor Senator Dodd. He wants to play by the old rules. The new, Palin-approved, mavericky rules are posture, whine, and massage the past to suit your political needs of the moment. No wonder he's about to lose his senate seat. I'm sure he'll be replaced by some pol who can play the new game like Enzi... "Yesterday we loved Medicare; today we hate Medicare."

Posted by: glewiss | December 10, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

We've always loved Medicare, and been at war with Eurasia

Posted by: etdean1 | December 10, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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