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The Senate: the destroyed deliberative body

Discussing the Senate health-care fight on CNN's "State of the Union" yesterday, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) had tough words for President Obama. "This is far from over. The House and Senate bills are in many ways irreconcilable,” he said. "…You know, change you can believe in, after this health care bill debacle is now becoming an empty slogan. And it's really been replaced by seedy Chicago politics, when you think about it, backroom deals that amount to bribes."

CNN anchor John King pointed out that "bribes" was a strong word. To which Graham said, "It was meant to be."

This was a seeming turnabout from the Graham who showed up at the "First Draft of History Conference" that The Atlantic magazine, the Aspen Institute and the Newseum hosted in October. There, he was more loyal opposition than the bomb-thrower who showed up on the Sunday shows. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was at that same conference striking a similarly bipartisan tone. But there he was on "Good Morning America" today slamming the "Cornhusker kickback," the "Louisiana purchase," the "Florida flim-flam" and "all of the other kinds of dealing that went on." Dealings he deemed "unsavory."

And that's my problem with Republican leaders such as Graham and McCain. I've seen them in front of other smaller -- dare I say elite -- audiences akin to that at the First Draft conference in Washington. They say all the right things about the coarsening of the tone in Washington and lament its impact on Congress. Listening to them, you get the sense that they are speaking from the heart. But then they get on the Sunday shows and it goes out the window.

As the New York Times points out, the health-care debate isn't making things better. It quotes Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) as saying, "This body prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body. That designation has been destroyed with what has occurred here the past few days.” The destruction of that designation has been happening for some time. I haven't forgotten what it was like when the Republicans were in power and the Democrats were in the minority. The rhetoric was equally heated. But that doesn't make it right. And, unfortunately, despite the desire to go back to more genteel, collegial times, there doesn't appear to be much interest on either side of the aisle to change.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 21, 2009; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Did you happen to hear that one Democrat senator said that anyone opposed to this was an arian race member? Seems to me all you guys only seem to have eyes for anyone that doesn't want this crap. Here is a clue Sherlock, noone wants this crap.

Posted by: Votingis4Suckers | December 21, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan...remember the good old days when Tom DeLay was majority leader (and Hastert his sock puppet). The Repubs locked the Dems in the House library on at least one occasion.

On another, they ordered the sergeant-at-arms to arrest the Dems.

After which, DeLay would go before the cameras and claim the donkeys were being partisan.

I wonder how the American people will react to the Grand Obstructionist Pary, which has decided that it will oppose every initiative proposed by the Dems.

They have already threatened more filibusters than occurred during the '60s and 70's combined.

The country needs a conservative party. Unfortunately, the current crop of Republicans are mostly just kooks.

Posted by: tmaertens | December 21, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is when senators openly accept "bribes" for their vote.

And no one seems to get too riled up about it, especially our newspaper folk!

Is anyone looking out for the middle-class worker who gets to pay for all of this?

And yes, we will be the ones who pay, don't kid yourself......

Posted by: jeffreid1 | December 21, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I continue not to understand why the majority doesn't simply allow a filibuster to happen. Let the minority read the phone book. Eventually they will get tired of reading, not to mention the public outcry that ensues. And besides, how could an actual filibuster possibly be any more dysfunctional than what is going on now?

Posted by: Itzajob | December 21, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Imagine the UK with a politically empowered House of Lords. That is what the United States Senate is: a politically empowered house of lords. The Senate should change it's filibuster rule so that the will of the people can be heeded or abolish itself.

Posted by: bdschwartz71 | December 21, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Capeheart, how prissy of you to be upset over words like "bribe" and "unsavory."
What were you doing when Sen Whitehouse cut loose on the floor, calling opponents " fanatics,... right-wing militia and Aryan support groups." You could have found lots of Democrats to give you the vapors over the past few months or years. Remember Harry Reid calling Bush a "loser" and Durbin's remarks about Nazis? All the Dems were beside themselves over "mobs and swastikas" that didn't exist.
You just hate it because the American people watch C-SPAN and can see who actually behaves badly. This is how they act when they win. God help us when they get kicked out of power in 2010.

Posted by: parkbench | December 21, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Pete "Rose" and the 12 year old Egyptian reaction much?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | December 21, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is when the minority party acts like they are the majority party. If they don't get to write the legislation they refuse to negotiate. Elections have consequences. The Democrats ran on a platform of universal health care. They are trying to deliver what they promised the American people. The Republicans are trying to block the legislation and poison public opinions by lies and scare tactics. The solution is to vote every Republican Senator out of office.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 21, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Graham's indignant and lofty moral pronouncements about "bribes" ignores the fact that both parties have relied on political favors to secure votes since the founding of the Republic. We probably wouldn't have the Civil Rights Act today if someone's district wasn't the recipient of a sewer project or bridge.

And you can bet that as soon as he isn't on the losing team anymore - and that could happen soon - Graham's newly discovered morality will be jettisoned faster than the Rush Limbaugh's last diet resolution.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | December 21, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Neocons are pissed and can't stop whining. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | December 21, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

again i want to thank our "fathers" for our representative government. albeit it representing a bunch of idiots. we will never get right again. what a waste of a great idea. democracy equates with lunacy

Posted by: coolgolf | December 21, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Remember "the nuclear option"?

I do.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 21, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

As long as re-election is the strongest motivation for Senatorial (or Representative)action, the rhetoric will continue in its reprehensible direction, much as it has since the beginnings a couple of hundred years ago. The language has not really changed, although particular offensive words may have. The difference is that in the beginning, there was some thought given to the good of the country. Today that is far from the minds of our power elites. The argument for term limits grows stronger with each epithet.

Posted by: Geezer4 | December 21, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It seems Mr. Graham has a very short memory. When Republicans passed the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, they held open a vote for four hours when it looked like they were about to lose. During those four hours, the GOP enticed Rep. Smith (a Michigan Republican if memory serves) to change his vote to support the bill with a promise of campaign funds for his son. It’s funny, but I don’t seem to remember Mr. Graham using the words “bribe” or “bribery” in that instance. In fact, I seem to remember Republicans hyperventilating at anyone questioning their deal making. I guess bribery is one of those things that’s okay, if you’re a Republican.

Posted by: codexjust1 | December 21, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Republicans. Stand for something rather than against everything. Praying for a curse? Really, the senator from Oklahoma should be ashamed to call himself a Christian. We are the UNITED States of America. Let's try to build instead of tear down.

Posted by: Eugene6 | December 21, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Senate has a highly inflated idea of who they really are and/or have always been. They really have always been a body in which physical violence was barely disguised (and sometimes let loose).
Think of our history when one of the Senators caned another one and they used to have challenges to duels along the Potomac with something of a regular basis.
They represent America: we ALWAYS think we are better people than we are.
For Heaven's sakes, it took a civil war to convince some of us that slavery, of all things, was wrong. It wasn't until 1964, of all things, that the country could accept that it was all right for blacks to drink out of a communal water fountain.
For us to discover, in 2009, that we are an emotionally violent people who revel in insulting, humiliating, and disparging everyone and anyone who disagrees with us, cannot REALLY be a huge discovery for anyone who has EVER had any lessons in American history.
This Senate is no different than many others we have had in our history.
This is NOT a case of "oh how horrible it is". This is simply a case of America as usual.
We are a violent people. We are easy to go to war. We are easy to kill our spouses, we are easy to start a movement to kill those who disagree with us. We are easy to send one of our Senators onto the floor with a prayer that one of his colleagues dies.
We are no different than we have always been. Progress toward "a more perfect nation" is slow and, human nature being what it is, it will ALWAYS be slow.

Posted by: cms1 | December 21, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"CNN anchor John King pointed out that "bribes" was a strong word. To which Graham said, "It was meant to be."

Graham is right. It's just too bad that he and the rest of the Republicans take the same bribes the moment they have a chance.

Posted by: ihatelogins | December 21, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

First, to address the individual who wrote extensively regarding Tom DeLay, please be advised that this article was about the Senate, not the House. The House has always pretty much tolerated reprehensible behavior (and I agree that DeLay was reprehensible in his behavior to say the least). As to our great deliberative body - the Senate, I agree with the author that neither side wishes to, or has the will to, change the tone. As to Dems complaining about filibusters, as I recall Dems wholly embraced them earlier in the decade. Quite frankly, the system will continue on like this as long as being a politician is considered a lifetime job and profession as it has now become. Additionally, as long as the campaign finance system favors contributions by special interest groups, which it still does, you will have the sleaziest of compromises as well as extremist positions. Finally, as long as the primary system is susceptible to well organized and unrepresentative activists of either extreme, which it is, we will continue to have the nonsense from which we now suffer. What are the solutions? - term limits and COMPLETE public financing of elections from the bottom up. This removes the incentive to become an entrenched career politician and also removes interest group money from the equation, at least as far as a candidate funding their campaign. Neither of these simple solutions will come to pass, however, since those in power and invested in the current system would have to vote for such changes.

Posted by: fwillyhess | December 21, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I get the point; the Congress and it's democratic (with a small "d") predecessors have never been civil ("genteel"), or allergic to political deals, or afraid of publically demeaning their political opponents- politicians have always been the best bad losers around. I disagree with Graham, but I doubt those opposed to past compromises (i.e. Missouri, 3/5) wouldn't have been all over the Huffington Post calling those compromises the results of "bribes" if given the opportunity (as they were and as they should). As long as we have a Congress we'll have compromises; as long as we have compromises we'll have the political losers-of-the-day bemoaning their temporary setbacks on TV. Just do what I do- turn off your TV!

Posted by: pasketanki | December 21, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Graham is right. It's just too bad that he and the rest of the Republicans take the same bribes the moment they have a chance.

For a case in point, go back and look at how Tom Delay and his pet rocks in the House Republican Caucus passed an energy bill in 2005:

DeLay slipped “a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas” into the energy bill . . . The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure.

The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government.

http://thinkprogress.org/2005/07/27/delay-dirty-tricks/

Posted by: PeterPrinciple | December 21, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

data from http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00009975&type=I

Lindsey Graham:

Career campaign contributions from the insurance, finance and real estate industries: $1,947,429

Career campaign contributions from Lawyers and Lobbyists: $2,290,138

Criticism about "bribes" going on during health care negotiations: PRICELESS

Posted by: B2O2 | December 21, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The political parties are just playing to their party faithful, while they are both cheating on you worse than Tiger Woods.

The people really taken to the cleaners with this monstrous bill are the taxpayers. More importantly, the progressives got their dreams destroyed by the Obama war machine. The beltway contains a giant den of thieves.

Posted by: alance | December 21, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Be advised that our system is ....... FAILING. The Senate is no longer a viable legislative body ... it is now where ... THE HAVES ... THE BOUGHT OFF AND PAID FOR... play their obstructive game.

How sad this is ... and how tragic it is for the normal Americans ... who are paying the price .............. sad-sad-sad.

Posted by: loretoguy | December 21, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Be advised that our system is ....... FAILING. The Senate is no longer a viable legislative body ... it is now where ... THE HAVES ... THE BOUGHT OFF AND PAID FOR... play their obstructive game.

How sad this is ... and how tragic it is for the normal Americans ... who are paying the price .............. sad-sad-sad.

Posted by: loretoguy | December 21, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Historic legislation, will benefit millions of Americans. Not over 'til it's over, but over Soon. Crushing defeat for right-wing conservatives, who oppose anything and everything, and are righteously swept away. Good news!

Posted by: dudh | December 21, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

This year we have morphed from a democracy to a kleptocracy - a "rule by thieves" - even the Chinese can't believe or fund it anymore.

They had a chance to give us universal health care and then give us universal fraud instead.

Posted by: alance | December 21, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't surprise me that Rethugs do not have the ability to differentiate between a "bribe" and "negotiating".

In their minds, it all about corruption.

You want to know why?

It's because Rethugs are some of the most corrupt, devious, manipulative human beings on the planet earth.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 21, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Get real. Why apologize? The United States is run by a corrupt oligarchy. Your Patriot Act invalidates your Bill of Rights. You have a respresentative democarachy in form but not in fact. You have merged corporate power with the state and Mussolini defined that as fascism. You live in a fascist state.

Posted by: Aurellano | December 21, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

@cms1:

I completely agree that the senate is highly overrated as "the world's greatest deliberative body" -- for one, it's grossly unrepresentative, with one a resident of Wyoming having 69 times as many votes as a resident of California.

Combined with the institutionalized corruption that's our campaign finance system, the result is just disgraceful. No wonder we didn't ratify Kyoto, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, ...

(And no, that's not because treaties are actually enforced only in the U.S., as arrogant conservatives may argue: the Torture Convention certainly isn't, while the European Convention on Human Rights for instance *is* enforced. But I disgress.)

Posted by: poGhoh3K | December 21, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations again to the courageous, patriotic and HONEST Republicans, ALL of whom voted against the criminal Obamacare scam. They did NOT cave in!

Republicans are certainly not perfect (no human being is perfect), but they are not controlled by Marxists and U.S. enemies as the Democrats are.

The differences between Republicans and Democrats have never been greater, mainly because the Democrat party is currently controlled by “progressives” (Marxists) like Obama and his comrades. The differences have NEVER been greater:

-- Controlled by “progressives” (Marxists), Democrats have lied, manipulated, intimidated, coerced and BRIBED (at our expense) everyone who can be bribed to force us to swallow prosperity-killing, job-killing, freedom-killing scams like Obamacare and cap and trade.

-- Democrats are ashamed of the U.S. and try to lower the U.S. to the level of failed socialist countries.

-- Democrats increase the deficit, tax us more and more, destroy the economy, destroy jobs, and pretend to create mythical jobs in districts that don't even exist.

-- Democrats protect terrorists and other U.S. enemies and endanger our soldiers and Americans in general.

-- Democrats are destroying the U.S., our economy, our freedoms, and our future, and apologizing to the world for not doing it fast enough!

* Republicans, on the other hand, try to defend us from prosperity-killing, job-killing, freedom-killing scams like Obamacare and cap and trade. They just did that in the Senate.

* Republicans are PROUD of the U.S. and want to restore democracy, freedom and prosperity to the U.S.

* Republicans endeavor to achieve fiscal responsibility, improve the economy, create REAL jobs, help the U.S. become energy independent.

* Republicans help our soldiers protect Americans from terrorists and other U.S. enemies.

* Republicans endeavor to defend the U.S. and our future.

As we could see in the Senate, Republicans did NOT cave in to the lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion and BRIBERY of Obama and his comrades. They deserve our gratitude and support.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 21, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

As we can see, Obamacare is advancing through lies, manipulation, intimidation. coercion and BRIBES (to be paid at our expense). And we can expect Obama and his comrades to use gimmicks, creative accounting, smoke and mirrors to hide the trillions of dollars this scam will cost us.

Honest Americans will have to pay billions just to cover BRIBES! We will also have to pay for insurance whether we want it or not, pay to insure those who don’t work, pay more for medicines and medical devices, pay for the hordes of ACORN-type bureaucrats needed to run Obamacare and to decide if we live or die, pay for the corruption that Obama and his comrades are creating, and pay, and pay, and pay.

As we can see, Obamacare is a Marxist scam. Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama is imposing socialism/Marxism on us through lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion and BRIBES to be paid at our expense.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 21, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

They can pass what they want, but it will not hold up in the courts. The same way Roe vs. Wade emphasized that government cannot get between a person and their doctor, the health insurance mandate will fall under the same reasoning. There are three or four of the Bill of Rights being trampled by this inane legislation.

The scary thing is what will happen to the medical and insurance industries when they cannot refuse anyone treatment, but no one has to buy insurance after the Supreme Court rules on this mess.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 21, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

You are right, alance. This year we have morphed from a democracy to a kleptocracy - a "rule by thieves."

The "socialism of the XXI century" (Marxism) that is destroying Latin America is also a "kleptocracy."

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.
http://www.hacer.org/report/2009/06/us-obamas-red-chorus-investors-business.html

Fortunately, as we can see from the comments here, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down! Most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obama's criminal scams and socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 21, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart is resorting to a tabloid style headline "the Senate, the destroyed deliberative body." They are on the verge of passing the Obama/Reid bill, so his wording is sensationalistic and untrue.

Yes, the way some Senators votes were won or bought are essentially bribes. Most people, especially in less corrupt societies, would think so, even if they are politics as usual in this country.

The majority of people in the United States are waiting for change we can believe in, but it does not seem to be on the horizon, if ever.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 22, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

The comity will not return to either the House or the Senate until such time as one party or the other feels locked into minority status. LBJ dealt with a Republican Party that had been out of power for so long in Washington the Republicans were willing to cut almost any deal necessarty in order to stay viable.

Ditto today's current mix. With the country at about 50/50, there isn't much incentive for either party to assume true minority status. Instead, they're both hoping to be in power over the next 25-50 years. In short, Republicans are more interested in regaining power than they are in trying to make Barack Obama look good for the next three years.

Posted by: sthomas1957 | December 22, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Wrong, sthomas1957! Thinking Americans are not concerned with having Democrats pr Republicans in power. We are concerned that Obama and his comrades, which currently control the Democrat party, are U.S. hating Marxists who are destroying our businesses, our jobs, our economy, our freedoms, and our country.

We are in grave danger.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 22, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

As we can see from the comments here, those who support the Obamacare scam are only Obama and his comrades and operatives, and those who have been dumbed down by a substandard and politicized education as per the warnings of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov.

In 1985, Bezmenov told us that our enemies were working hard at brainwashing us (dumbing us down) and would succeed if we did not defend our principles: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1

The dumbed down are obviously unable to understand that Obama's scams, including Obamacare and cap and trade, have as their main objective “the American descent into Marxism,” which “is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…” http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Fortunately, as we can see from the comments here, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down! Most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from Obama's scams and socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 22, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
22 December 2009

A senior in a U.S. high school will very likely get an "F" if he describes the U.S. Senate as "the greatest deliberative body in the whole world."

It deserves to be characterized now as "the greatest dysfunctional legislative body in the world world." And if a senior in a U.S. high school describes the Senate that way, he or she will very likely get an "A".

That's just how far down into the gutter the U.S. Senate has sunk through all these many years.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | December 22, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Republicans have been locked out of meetings by the dems. Obama and the dems have no clue about what the citizens want because they are too concerned about what THEY want. They do not listen or the dems would know that they will be voted out of office in 2010. Obama and the dems will work hard to corrupt the elections. Hopefully, this health care thing will be declared unconstitutional before it goes too far. Especially since labor unions and other groups have different rules than the rest of the country. Not to mention the bribes.

Posted by: annnort | December 22, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Lindsey Graham's crude remarks about "bribes" and "Chicago politics" had one very important thing in common with the so-called "payoffs" themselves that were paid to get Senator Nelson on board with the health care bill: They both provide political cover for the Senators with their conservative constituents who have been driven to a hysterical frenzy over this health care bill by FOX and the rest of the far right establishment who even today, after all of the public options have been carved out, continue to scare people about a socialist government takeover of "one-sixth of our economy."

Senator Graham has already felt the sting of what happens to even very conservative Senators when they reach across the aisle to work with Democrats, as he did when his home folks shouted him down as a "RINO" traitor for his act of conscience and integrity when he voted to confirm the thoroughly qualified Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. So, his railing against Chicago politics probably earned him a few "here, heres" and "right ons" from the pitchfork-weilding mobs down in the Palmetto State.

And if the Cornhuskers in Nebraska are really as dead set against this bill as some of the commentary say they are, then Nelson needed a little something to show his home folks in return for his political apostey in voting against a filibuster that would kill the bill. My guess is that the $100 million sweetener for Nebraska that Nelson was given for his vote will be taken out in conference or, more likely, a few years down the road before the bill kicks in. But it is a spoon full of sugar that helps this medicine go down. And the idea that this was a "bribe" is nuts. Nelson isn't getting a new house in the deal. His constituents are getting a little more government pork, which is called politics, and which Republicans like Graham should completely understand since it was on their watch over the past decade that pork-barrell "earmarks" went through the roof.

Posted by: TedFrier | December 22, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

So, what are conservatives going to run on in 2010 and 2012? It won't be on any legislation or measures they introduced and passed in regard to defense, international treaties, the economy or health care. What will they show the American people that they have done?

They can say, "Well, we were rude to the president, and refused to work with almost anybody, including many from our own party!" They can point to all their unsucessful blocking, impediments and general gumming-up of the wheels of government- but that has been an unsuccessful, waste of time and money as well. They can talk about the time they've spent challenging the president's birth certificate, or disproving melting ice caps or trying to block the trial of terrorr suspects in our nation's courts.

Won't those television campaign ads be persuasive? You bet they'll be!

Spit and hiss, Republicans- it makes you so likable, attractive and productive- not to mention electable.

Posted by: interactidiomas | December 22, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The killer part - this bill is a sham and everyone knows it. It is NOT revenue neutral as BO claims - fact - far from it. Wilson was right - he lied and continues to do so. It is a TAX monster in hiding. It claims 5 years of expense against 10 years of revenue....like for like comparisons are a 2.5 trillion dollar monster - with only 1 trillion in revenues. Even comparing the first 10 years - it is ONLY revenue neutral provided congress reduces doctor payments by 21%...Now - if congress has not had the nerve to do exactly the same within Medicare - which its suppose to do..how then can then state they will do the same in Obama-care...that's right - RED already even with 10 years of revenue and ONLY 5 years expense...can you spell catastrophe? The majority of people oppose it - yet the dems keep handing out candy as if its their money....Ah..a funeral march till 2010. Can't wait.

Posted by: short1 | December 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Civil disagreement in politics has ended because compared to thirty years ago, the conservative side is controlled by rightous radicals. The liberal side has moved so far to the center, that a real liberal has no place to go. My Republican State Rep. told me that most of his fellow republicans in the legislature cared more about ideolgy than effective governing. In the health care debate, the left position is complete government run health care, and the far right position is to keep the government out, and put the responsibility on individuals(even when this is not feasible), while the cost of health care continues to sap the strength from our economy. The current bills in Congress are in the center, modest reforms, but not extreme. We need more pragmatic republicans, not idealogues. When officials take the attitude that it is my way, or the devils way, there is no room for civil discussion. We need what will work to hold down health care costs, while spreading care, not what comforms to any preconcieved ideology.

Posted by: noche4 | December 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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