After many months of negotiations, fights, protests, egos and outright suffering, the Senate may have a health-care bill that passes. Liberal activists are divided on their support. Howard Dean wants the Senate bill killed, but Paul Krugman wants it passed.
Both are real liberal heroes. Paul Krugman was as honest as anyone during the democratic primary between Hillary and Obama and he received a lot of pressure to tone it down so I will never dismiss anything he has to say. That being said, I don't buy the Iraq war analogy either. I did become a blogger in 2004 because of my opposition to the war.
Joe Lieberman's ego and pettiness seem to have abated for the time being as we find out who and what actually killed the Medicare buy-in: The f*&king lobbyists. And then there's still Ben Nelson's quest to attack women's rights as he strives to invoke as much Stupak language in the bill as possible.
What happened to the House? Congressmen were also in a legislative battle from the first day the health-care debate began. There were public displays of childishness throughout the process by movement conservatives on late Saturday nights; Rep. John Shadegg holding baby Maddie up and using her like a prop typified the behavior of the Republican party, but what did any of it accomplish? It looked more like a carnival of idiots than serious politicians working for the Americans who voted them to represent us.
The House has officially been neutered to the point of being irrelevant it would appear. They can throw tantrums like petulant stepchildren, hold their breaths until they turn blue, but in the end they are being totally ignored by the House of Lords.
How do House members feel after witnessing the antics of the ConservaDems in the Senate over the last few weeks? Their health-care bill -- which took a tremendous amount of painstaking work -- was finally merged with all three committees, but if they get ready to meet it appears their words of compromise will be as useless as a cheap bamboo wedding fan trying to keep you cool in the oppressive heat of the Mojave Desert.
When the House and Senate committee members meet in conference and supposedly merge their bills, exactly what can they do to influence it at all? If the Senate bill is as far as the Gang of Four, or Six or Ten or whatever it is, are willing to go, then is the House bill nothing more than a stage prop?
Do members of the House of Representatives feel jubilation at the thought that any pieces of major legislation they are asked to put together will ultimately be decided by President Lieberman, Queen Snowe, Mary Landrone, Ben "floppy hair" Nelson and Max Baucus? I'm sure more names will be added to the list.
I really want to know how they feel.
Update: Rep. Anthony Weiner speaks out against Lieberman on WNYC.
LEHRER: Up or down, if the bill gets through the senate with no public option and it gets through the Senate with the Ben Nelson Abortion restrictions, would you vote yes or no?
WEINER: I'm not taking the Senate Bill. We're going to go into a conference hopefully, we're going to get back to close to where the house is. We're not taking the Senate Bill. That Senate Bill should not become law."
Threatening to "kill the bill" works both ways---or at least it should.