-Republicans will keep fighting to the last vote on Christmas Eve!
Shortly after 1 AM Monday morning Democrats reached the all important 60 vote mark required to begin moving their health care "reform" bill to final passage this week in the U.S. Senate. Not a single Republican voted to end the filibuster.
We are only now learning the price Democrats paid for those votes. $100 million for a hospital in Sen. Chris Dodd's state of Connecticut, $500 million for Medicaid for Massachusetts and $100 million for Medicaid in Nebraska to win Ben Nelson's vote and $600 million for Medicaid in Vermont. That's on top of Sen. Mary Landrieu's $300 million for Louisiana. Those of us not living in the above states will have the pleasure of supporting this corruption by paying for it with our tax dollars.
As this monstrosity moves to final passage the cost to Democrats is becoming painfully clear. They have squandered the good will and high hopes of election night 2008 in an orgy of excess and arrogance.
Writing in the Washington Post, Dan Balz has a must read commentary:
Sunday Take: For Democrats, health-care debate exposes deep woundsRepublicans may not win the battle in the Senate to derail health care. But they have won the fight for public opinion. If this keeps up, Democrats may have won the battle, but Republicans will win the war!
By Dan Balz
Sunday, December 20, 2009
... The health-care debate has split the Democratic coalition. Unity has given way to bitter infighting. This has been a moment for individuals to make war on one another.
Whatever goodwill existed among Democrats at the start of Obama's presidency has been fractured and will be difficult to put together again. The events of the past week underline that reality.
Joe Lieberman, who bolted the party in 2006 to salvage his Senate seat and then accepted the Democrats' generosity to maintain his committee chairmanship despite having backed Republican John McCain in last year's presidential race, held the party hostage in negotiations, infuriating many liberals.
Howard Dean, who has grievances about the way he was discarded by the Obama team after running the Democratic National Committee for four years, has led a vocal guerrilla war against the bill from outside the Congress, enraging the party leadership.
Democratic centrists have extracted costly promises to stay onboard, but still fear for their political future. Bloggers and progressive activists have counterattacked against them, vowing retribution. Labor is unenthusiastic to hostile.
Leading Democrats also think that, in the end, voters care less about the process than about the outcome. If, in the face of united Republican opposition, the Democrats produce historic changes in the availability of health care to millions more citizens and protect against some of the arbitrary practices of the insurance industry, that will override the messy path to success.
But there is something broader for Democrats to worry about as they try to finish their work this year and prepare for 2010 and the midterm elections. What began as an undercurrent of dissatisfaction has grown throughout the year. Disappointment with the president is dwarfed by discontent with Congress.
No Congress is ever loved, but the assessments of this Congress are striking in their negativity. In the most recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, only 7 percent rated the performance of Congress above average, and 34 percent called it one of the worst.
Two benchmarks put that number into perspective. In October 1994, shortly before Republicans ousted Democrats from power in the House and Senate, 16 percent called that Congress one of the worst. In October 2006, just before Democrats recaptured control, 25 percent called that Congress one of the worst. In the past five months, the percentage rating this Congress that low has jumped 11 percentage points.
A third finding underscores the problem for Democrats: Thirty-eight percent said their member of Congress deserves to be reelected, and 49 percent said it is time to give a new person a chance. That is identical to the percentage who said to give a new person a chance a month before the 1994 GOP landslide and slightly above the number a month before the 2006 Democratic takeover.
Why won't that anti-Washington sentiment fall equally on Republicans and Democrats? Because it rarely does. Republicans are hardly secure or popular, but Democrats are in control. If the public is ready for change again in November, Democrats will feel the brunt of that anger.