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Bennet slams inside deals, lays out a blueprint for vulnerable Democrats

1. Appointed Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) took to the Senate floor on Monday to explain his vote in favor of the health care measure and, in so doing, worked to paint himself as an outsider to the insider political process playing out within his own party. "I am not naive about politics, but I expected more," said Bennet. "I will vote for health care reform because it is a step in the right direction. But I will not go home and defend the actions of a Washington that is out-of-touch." Bennet also walked right up to the line of speaking ill of his Democratic colleagues -- a Senate no-no -- but making clear that he purposely didn't ask for any special deals for his home state. "Just because others choose to engage in the same tired Washington rituals, doesn't mean that I have to," said Bennet, referring to, but never naming, people like Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (La.). The National Republican Senatorial Committee was watching Bennet's speech too and quickly put out a release condemning his attempts to distance himself from the vote he had just made. "Now that the sun has risen, Colorado's un-elected Senator apparently wants his constituents to believe that this vote never happened," said NRSC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand. The strategy being employed by Bennet, a major target for national Republicans in 2010, is an interesting one -- justify your vote for the bill by citing the good it will do for your state while condemning the sort of legislative sausage-making that made the bill possible. It's a delicate dance but one that recognizes the political dangers of running as an incumbent -- of either party -- in this sort of environment. Outsiders are in for 2010.

2. Speaking of health care, President Obama sent an e-mail missive to the massive list he built during the 2008 campaign seeking to convey the import of the current health care debate and explain away the criticisms from the liberal left that the legislation amounts to a sell out to the insurance industry. "After a nearly century-long struggle, we are now on the cusp of making health insurance reform a reality in the United States of America," Obama wrote -- echoing the "appeal to history" argument put forward by senior adviser David Axelrod on the Sunday talk shows. Obama went on to note that insurance companies who try to "jack up their rates do so at their own peril" and emphasizing that insurers will no longer be able to turn people away due to preexisting conditions. "These are not small changes," concluded Obama. "These are big changes. They're fundamental reforms. They will save money. They will save lives." Republicans were also out in full rhetorical force on Monday against the bill. In a conference call with reporters, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele referred to the bill as a "boondoggle," adding that the legislation is "excessive in the spending, excessive in its government controls and bureaucracy, excessive in the tax burden that is laid upon individuals and small business owners." Arizona Sen. John McCain calling the legislation "one of the great Bernie Madoff gimmicks" and noting that Democrats "don't have the American public" when asked by Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos(!) why Republicans continued to use procedural measures to postpone a vote until Christmas Eve. Health care is the rare issue where smart strategists in both parties believe they have the political edge and, rather than hedging their bets, are doubling down instead. It's going to be a VERY interesting next 11 months.

3. Speaking of Steele, a Washington Times story posted late last night details the fact that the RNC chairman has continued to give paid speeches since assuming the post in January. It features a series of tut-tutting quotes from past RNC chairs including major D.C. players like Frank Fahrenkopf and Rich Bond. RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho called the story "silly," adding: "Michael Steele has been giving inspirational speeches based on his personal story long before he was elected RNC Chairman and will long after." Steele defenders will chalk this latest controversy up to the adversarial relationship that many longtime Washington GOP power players have with the chairman. And, it is true that Steele's strength comes far more from the far-flung grassroots of the GOP than the establishment party structure in the nation's capital. Still, stories like this provide Steele's GOP foes -- not to mention Democrats -- with a major chapter of a building narrative that the chairman is, first and foremost, looking out for his own personal interests. And, that's not a good story line for Steele as the party heads into 2010.

4. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has decided against running for any office in 2010 and will make that announcement today, according to a source close to the mayor. There are two practical effects of Giuliani's decision: 1) Hizzoner's political career is almost certainly over and 2) appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is a heavy favorite to win the special election for the final two years of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's (D) term next November. With Giuliani not running -- and, let's be honest, no one ever expected him to run -- there are now only two major go/no go decisions as it relates to the Senate playing field next year. One is in Delaware where state Attorney General Beau Biden (D) is seen as very likely to run for his father's old seat but the fact he hasn't announced yet has some Republicans thinking he might take a pass. The other is in North Dakota where Senate GOPers continue to aggressively court popular Gov. John Hoeven to run against Sen. Byron Dorgan. If Hoeven runs, which still seems unlikely, it is a major recruiting coup for Republicans and ensures the most competitive Senate race that the state has seen in more than two decades.

5. Much was made of a statement from Rep. John Spratt's (D-S.C.) press secretary that the South Carolina Democrat, a much-rumored retirement possibility, was going to be running again in 2010. And, while this has to be considered a step in the right direction for Spratt, there are still those who wonder whether, ultimately, he will decide to run again until he himself goes on the record to dismiss the rumors. Spratt faces a serious challenge in the form of state Sen. Mick Mulvaney (R) and has made no secret of his plans to retire in the (somewhat) near future. Spratt still has plenty of time before the Palmetto State's March 30 filing deadline. Here a handful of states with earlier filing deadline to keep an eye on as members will need to make decisions about their futures either over the holidays or soon after they return to Washington: Kentucky (Jan. 26), West Virginia (Jan. 30), Ohio (Feb. 18), Indiana (Feb. 19) and North Carolina (Feb. 26).

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 22, 2009; 6:04 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

This process has been tainted with narcissism. These Senators, Republican as well as Democrat, seem to believe that their political survival is more important than getting an efficient and cost effective healthcare system in te US. How refreshing it would be if we actually had sensible debate on this issue.
It is mindboggling that any Republican would vote for a system that has so much bureaucracy, albeit private sector bureaucracy, and that any Democrat would vote for anything less than universal healthcare. Have any of these people actually experienced the byzantine complexity of the health insurannce industry in America? The insurance and health care gatekeepers in the system outnumber doctors and nurses and the whole industry has little interest in the patients apart ffrom as customers. Oh yes, and I haven't even started on the prescription drug jamboree.

Posted by: Ex-Mil | December 23, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the courageous stand that Michael Bennett has taken. He may be tilting at windmills, but someone needs to say outloud what everyone is saying under their breath.
Too often recently, members of both parties just go along to get along. Republicans did this during the first term of GWB. Apparently in the Republican party there is a policy that they do not criticize another Republicans actions no matter how despicable. That policy is one of the reasons they are in such trouble today.
Now we have Democrats attempting to quash dissent by invoking the same rules. This is a bad policy. It can only lead to bad decisions if wrong doers are protected by such a rule.Michael Bennet has taken a courageous stand here and should be supported.

Posted by: OhMy | December 23, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama should leave to white house advisers being the propagandists for his administration. He comes across too much as egotist-in-chief when he becomes propagandist-in-chief.

Most people in this country are not as stupid as either Democrats or Republicans think they are. The majority realize the Republicans generally do not offer a positive agenda for most people in this country, the Democrats are just as subservient to special interest groups and willing to settle for small reforms.

Most people, that is the majority who are independents and moderates, are tired of the partisanship on both sides. Obama promised to take the nation beyond this and he has failed. His token gestures to Republicans, while ignoring any significant input from them, will not fool many people.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 23, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm simply repeating the "sage" advice from another thread (myself, I'm too old to worry about threats from the Internets -- or even "cell tower mounted microwave/laser directed energy weapons" -- but that's just me, I guess ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Surely its fairly safe to tell where i used to live, isnt it? There are 49 other states + the northern half of the one i just mentioned, where i could be located now. And thats assuming I'm still in the good ol' USA...Who am i kidding, i love my country too much to leave!

Posted by: elijah24 | December 22, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Careful, elijah24, only "fools or liars" give out personal information about themselves on these boards.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

RE: Rand Paul:
Until 3 months ago, I lived in southern Indiana and worked throughout the northern part of KY. I agree that PARTS of KY are moving in the general direction of the present, but a very large percentage of the state is still stuck in the 60's. And come to think of it, in the confederacy of which they were never a part. At worst I think Paul has a good fighting chance. And my honest opinion is that he should be the odds-on favorite to win.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 22, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"The health care spending will be sustainable if the recovery is sustainable. At that point, its putative benefit to the country will be realized."

The spending will always be sustainable. All you need is a good maintenance crew assigned to the printing presses. What is not sustainable is taxing and more taxing. There is a limit to what you can tax. The figure is something like 100%.

Posted by: leapin | December 22, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced. You regularly post stories about sitting Republican elected officials who sound a lot worse than Paul. If they can win in conservative districts, so he can he. I'm not saying that Paul is going to win, but I wouldn't count him out because he's ultra-conservative or (allegedly) racist.

Posted by: Blarg | December 22, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

blarg, I don't know if you know anything about Paul, but he has surrounded himself with even loonier people than he is. His spokesman, Chris Hightower, just quit, over all his incredibly racist stuff on his MySpace page for the last two years, like a photo of a lynching, 'Happy N*gger Day caption on Martin Luther King day, pix of hightower himself in KKK gear, etc. Much more to it than that.

And Paul is just a loon, a big fan of Glen Beck and conspiracy theories so wacked out it's scary. I think he'd have a hard time winning anywhere, but Kentucky is not a backwoods state anymore and he is so far over the top it's over a cliff.

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, isn't Rand paul in favor of small government -- the kind you can strangle in the bathtub? Kentucky is a lot olike NY CD23 in that it takes in much more Federal dollars than it turns over. I don't think Paul's principle message is going to be very popular in Kentucky come the general election.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 22, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

drindl, why do you think Rand Paul will lose to the Democrats? He's ultra-conservative, but is that really a handicap in Kentucky?

I agree with your larger point. CC ignores the divisions in the Republican party. He assumes that Democrat and Republican are monolithic blocks; what's bad for one party is good for the other, with no exceptions.

Posted by: Blarg | December 22, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

elijah24:

Careful, or your IQ will drop by inviting me to post too ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Jake, you just made the same case that i make to my conspiracy-theorist grandpa. "You make your living playing music at nursing-home birthday parties. Even if there really is a vast government conspiracy, what would they want with you?"

Posted by: elijah24 | December 22, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50:

I am on the "side" of believing you are not important enough to be targeted.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I generally ignore him, elijah, he's not worth the bother. That was more of a heads-up to CC.

But this Kentrucky story is BIG. No one expected Rand Paul to beat the establishment R candidate, Tray Grayson. Yet Paul is so far ahead in the polls that he will certainly win the primary... and he doesn't stand a chance against the two popular Dems he will run against, doesn't matter which one wins the primary.

So that means Jim Bunning's Republican Senate seat is going to a Democrat. So why aren't we hearing more about it?

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Drindle, if you wouldn't engage him so much, it wouldnt matter. He's gonna lower the IQ of this page whether you engage or not, but when you do, you put him on another post, and give him the invitation to post again.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 22, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

A NY-23 in Kentucky ?

"The new survey of Kentucky by Public Policy Polling (D) gives Rand Paul, a conservative activist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a huge lead over the establishment candidate in the Republican primary for Senate in 2010.

The numbers: Rand Paul 44%, Secretary of State Trey Grayson 25%. Grayson was recruited to run in place of two-term GOP Sen. Jim Bunning, who is retiring. Paul, however, has mobilized his campaign around the Tea Party movement and his outsider conservative message.

From the pollster's analysis: "Paul is winning the votes of conservatives by a 47-20 margin, while Grayson holds a 36-34 lead with moderates. Paul is having a particularly good amount of success with folks who think that the Republican Party in Washington has become too liberal -- his lead with them is 54-18."

The Democratic primary is a tight race with state Attorney General Jack Conway at 37%, and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo at 33%, within the ±4.2% margin of error."

Paul is just an infantile as every other member of the Teabagger crowd:

A spokesman for Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) is getting heat for praising a video likening Paul’s opponent to Adolf Hitler. And he's not apologizing.

The video portraying Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) as Hitler popped up on a Ron Paul message board over the weekend. A spokesman for Grayson primary opponent Rand Paul then posted a reply to the video, labeling it “Too funny!!” with a smiling emoticon. "

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

'Re: Topic # 2 Obama is not legally "President" if he wasn't born in Hawai'i."

Every single day with this racist birther crap, Joke. I thought you had been asked to stop it?

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

BLACK HELIOS DOWN?

TO: JakeD @ 9:33 a.m.

The Bush-Cheney- spawned dark side is in the process of being taken down, along with a nationwide installation of cell tower mounted microwave/laser directed energy weapons being used to torture, impair and entrain thousands of Americans -- maybe even some of our nation's leaders. An American Gestapo involving fabled agencies and commands of the U.S. government has been exposed and all their might can't stop the truth from coming out.

And still you persist in your "black helicopter" psy op? Just because you haven't read about it yet in mainstream media doesn't mean it's not happening.

A pervasive multi-agency rogue program has been exposed. I have reason to believe that good people on the inside possess a special disdain for "partners" who think they are above the rule of law.

Now, will they give unconstitutionally and unjustly targeted Americans a Christmas season of true peace, ending these "slow-kill" microwave attacks on the citizenry -- taking down those cell tower antenna arrays that are inducing weakness, fatigue, mood change, even illnesses such as strokes, aneurysms and cancer...

...dismantling the federally-enabled vigilante, police-protected "community watch" vigilante stalking units that terrorize extrajudicially targeted and persecuted citizens in EVERY county, EVERY neighborhood in the nation?

The clock is ticking down on the American Gestapo. Maybe it's a good thing that Obama kept on the "leave-behinds" who brazenly have perpetuated this torture matrix. Some of the Bush holdovers, I believe, put on the white hats many months ago. Maybe they've been working with Team Obama to keep book on the fascists within... wouldn't that be an interesting turn of events?

And which side are YOU on, JakeD? Don't answer; you may incriminate yourself.

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-unaware-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 22, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thats hard to tell based on the rhetoric, Jake. Especially when you listen to people like Dick Cheney, or Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 22, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

And what did I tell you yesterday? Not a single mention of this event in this blog.

"A veteran Republican state legislator in Maine has announced he's leaving the the party over its opposition to health care reform.

Rep. Jim Campbell, a liberal Republican from Newfield, said in a statement that his move — coming as Maine's two Republican senators have signaled that they'll vote against health care legislation — is aimed at "send[ing] a message to the Republican Party ... to stop blocking progress in the hope of partisan gain."

Campbell, who represents a district in the southwestern corner of the state, supported same-sex marriage and often votes with Democrats, so his move didn't come as a total surprise to local Republicans. Still, amid discussion of the backlash against Democrats who support health care reform, it's a sign of the potential risks for senators from left-leaning states who oppose the measure.

Campbell's full statement:

This move has been a long time coming for me. I have been very frustrated with the Republican Party in Maine, and nationally, for their failure to address the health care crisis in a meaningful way. Nobody has all the answers, but the Republican Party has none when it comes to health care reform.

This move is about the working people and our seniors who need action. I became a Republican because I believed the party stood for something. I hope to send a message to the Republican Party — and the Democratic Party — that enough is enough; it is time to stop blocking progress in the hope of partisan gain.

To the people of my district who elected me four times, I want to assure them I will continue to stand up and fight for the seniors in our community and for good jobs and opportunities for young people and families. I will continue to speak my mind and tell the truth as I see it to both sides of the aisle, what ever party you are in.

UPDATE: I spoke to Campbell, who said he couldn't predict how his state's senators would vote, but hoped they supported health care legislation. "I’m for this public option big time," he said."

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

shrink2:

No REAL American "wants" a disaster.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh God, another Republican press release disguised as a 'blog.'

First, Guiliani is not called 'hizzoner' here in New York. He is, and always has been called just 'Rudy' -- well he is generally called much worse, but this is a family blog.

When people in NY think of hizzoner, generally it's either Bloomberg or in most cases, the person it stuck to longest -- Ed Koch.

Posted by: drindl | December 22, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

More bad news for Republicans.

Now the stock market has sustained ~2/3 of the recovery back toward its all time high.
Oil prices remain in the everybody happy range and housing is clearly at the bottom of its value drop.

Practically all (nonpartisan) experts believe the upward GDP trend (albeit tiny and made of borrowed money) in the third quarter will be sustained well into 2010, some say beyond. This will drive job grow.

Too bad there are no elections now, as the Republicans have successfully repackaged and resold to the Bush/Cheney voters the idea that all the economic pain of the last 2 years was caused by Barak Obama.

Now the only hope for the party that has bet its money and its soul against America's ability to recover from what they did to it, is a double dip.

The health care spending will be sustainable if the recovery is sustainable. At that point, its putative benefit to the country will be realized.

But if there were a double dip, it would be caused by consumer spending never re-appearing in strengh (to buy the stuff the re-hired workers produce) and then a series of interest rate related issues would cause investor capital to flow away from the US.

In other words, the Republicans can only hope for a return to disaster. Fortunately, they do not have their hands on the levers to assure that happens. Lets keep it that way.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't expect Hoeven to run for Senate in 2010. He likes being Governor, he's good at it, is recognized as such, and if he has ambitions in Washington, Conrad is the much better target.

While Beltway GOPers salivate at the idea of having a hugely popular Governor run, a lot of what makes Hoeven popular probably disappears running against Dorgan. Hoeven is perceived as being above politics or apolitical, his popularity is not contingent on being Republican and running a heavily partisan race probably would make it disappear. And Dorgan is popular.

This isn't Thune/Daschle, which seems to be the script that the GOP is playing from. South Dakota tilts heavily Republican, and Dorgan has done the work to maintain his ties in and to the state.. North Dakota is complicated in the sense that unlike most states there seems to be a deliberate calculus that having a GOP legislature and Democratic congressional delegation is something that North Dakotans like.

Meanwhile, Kent Conrad has not done the same work to keep his ties to the state strong and may be vulnerable in 4 years, people haven't forgotten that he promised in 1986 to only serve one term if the budget wasn't balanced, and while he didn't run for reelection, the kind of hinky way that he stayed in the Senate sits poorly with some of the locals.

If Hoeven were to decide to run it would be a major surprise, and he'd start out as a decided underdog, GOP polls notwithstanding.

Posted by: leuchtman | December 22, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

There will be two interesting items to follow from the debate and the backstepping that certain Dems will almost assuredly start taking. First, the President has repeatedly declared he will veto bills containing earmarks. Now that his coveted healthcare bill is moving, will he keep his promise given the "gifts" to Senators Nelson & Landrieu?

Second, now that the vote for cloture is behind us, how will vulnerable Dems, and perhaps others, vote on the bill that returns from conference? Are we on the verge again of "I voted for it before I voted against it"?

Posted by: riskexcellence | December 22, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

LOL!!! Yes, you keep "look[ing] for those special Senate favors to be stripped from the bill ... and perhaps even throws in that expansion of Medicare and a modest public option." But don't look too hard, or you will miss the black helicopters over you right now.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

PROGRESSIVE DEMS HOLDING SOME CARDS UP THEIR SLEEVE?

The Dems may be playing it just right. Promise the blackmailers anything now, and, as they say in the TV biz, "we'll fix it in post (production)."

As public opinion sours on business-as-usual pork-rolling, look for those special Senate favors to be stripped from the bill.

By the time that the conference committee convenes to reconcile the House and Senate versions of health care reform, the Dem leadership won't need the likes of Lieberman and Nelson to secure passage of a final reform package that mirrors the House bill -- and perhaps even throws in that expansion of Medicare and a modest public option.

That endgame strategy would not only please disillusioned liberals and progressives, but would give Team Obama some legislative "oomph" to do even bigger things in the new year. As the left wing of the party now says, "Hope for audacity."

BUT...

Health care reform a cruel joke when Americans are unconstitutionally targeted by their government for SILENT TORTURE:

***


SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM SILENTLY TORTURES, IMPAIRS, SUBJUGATES U.S. CITIZENS WITH CELL TOWER/SATELLITE MICROWAVE/LASER 'DIRECTED ENERGY' WEAPONS AND LOCAL 'COMMUNITY WATCH' VIGILANTE TERRORISM, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist, NowPublic.com/scrivener.

JOURNO TO FBI: TAKE CONTROL OF DHS-RUN FUSION CENTERS
TO STOP SILENT MICROWAVE / LASER ATTACKS ON U.S. CITIZENS

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-unaware-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez
OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 22, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Enormity means monstrous evil

you got it right by accident. Still better than obimbo though who is still looking for that first success.

Posted by: snowbama | December 22, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Re: Topic # 2 Obama is not legally "President" if he wasn't born in Hawai'i.

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

It is certainly historic that this present ident has spent us into ruin.

It is certainly historic that he allowed Iran to laugh at us and get the bomb.

It is certainly historic that his approvals have sunk so low.

It is certainly historic that this is the worst congress ever, replete with corruption.

Passing a law that forces insurance companies to do anything, regardless of cost- historic idiocy.

Posted by: snowbama | December 22, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

450 percent?! Not even Karl "The Architect" Rove could come up with a prediction like that ; )

As for "Outsiders are in for 2010" kinda like citizen politicians or those who are still Going Rogue?

Posted by: JakeD | December 22, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The biggest sell will be with the American people. He needs to make them aware of the enormity of his acivement and get the numbers who support the bill above 450 percent.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 22, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

As long as the press is repeating GOP-supplied talking points I look forward to some reporting on just how the GOP got 100% compliance on this vote from their Senators.

Remember all the threats and bullying that accompanied those medicare votes under the Bush administration? Remember how many hours those votes took while congressman were brow-beaten on the floor? There was nothing new in yesterday's vote, and the GOP uses the carrot and the stick just as effectively as the Democrats do.

Republican Senators who had been involved in the progress of this bill months ago dropped from sight this winter. I'm sure they were promised well-funded primary challenges if they didn't get in line with the party and abandon the interests of their constituents.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 22, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I am beyond disappointed with you and your colleagues at the Post. You should have broken the story that Katrina victims were being kicked out of Medicaid because they got FEMA assistance. It is a horrific government policy that is long overdue for a fix. Instead, you insist on referring to the language that removes that punishment (to people who have suffered enough tragedy) as an earmark.

I invite you to look up the work earmark in a dictionary. I can tell you with the utmost confidence that it is not a policy fix like the one Mary Landrieu got, helping millions of Louisianans and Hawaiians who were devastated by natural disaster.

When you go to sleep tonight, you should think about how lucky you are and how much you have. Then think about the appropriateness of characterizing government health benefits to people who lost their houses to a hurricane as an ugly backroom deal. If you truly think it through, you should have a great deal of difficulty sleeping. Then consider doing your job, which means doing research and going beyond rumor-mongering.

This Christmas, don't be surprised if all you find in your stocking is a lump of coal.

--Beth

Posted by: creolebeth | December 22, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

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