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Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

December 25th, 2009, 06:12 pm admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Merry Christmas, whether it’s family around the tree, or a movie and Chinese food for dinner.

NY Times:

The last time the Senate voted on Christmas Eve, in 1895, it represented a moment of national reconciliation, as lawmakers agreed to lift a ban on federal officers who had joined the Confederacy from serving in the post-Civil War military.

“No Animosity Remaining,” proclaimed a celebratory headline in The New York Times the next day.

The same could not be declared about Thursday’s vote approving a bitterly contested health care overhaul at the end of an exhausting 25-day legislative journey. It was the second-longest consecutive stretch in Senate annals and one that severely strained the traditions of collegiality that underpin the institution.

So Republicans think that preventing 30 million people from getting access to health care is as worth the bitterness as other recent collegiality strains –  impeaching Nixon and stopping the Vietnam War?? Reminds me why I am and have been a Democrat.

NY Times:

Mr. Reid’s oh-no vote capped one of the more remarkable stretches in what is shaping up to be one of the more remarkable careers in American politics, characterized in no small part by the sheer inscrutability of much of what he says and does.

Paul Krugman:

Finally, there has been opposition from some progressives who are unhappy with the bill’s limitations. Some would settle for nothing less than a full, Medicare-type, single-payer system. Others had their hearts set on the creation of a public option to compete with private insurers. And there are complaints that the subsidies are inadequate, that many families will still have trouble paying for medical care.

Unlike the tea partiers and the humbuggers, disappointed progressives have valid complaints. But those complaints don’t add up to a reason to reject the bill. Yes, it’s a hackneyed phrase, but politics is the art of the possible.

David Brooks:

This year, magazines had a powerful effect on the health care debate. Atul Gawande’s piece, “The Cost Conundrum,” in The New Yorker, was the most influential essay of 2009, and David Goldhill’s “How American Health Care Killed My Father,” in The Atlantic, explained why the U.S. needs fundamental health reform. But special recognition should also go to Jonathan Rauch’s delightful essay, “Fasten Your Seat Belts — It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Flight,” in The National Journal.

Dana Milbank:

“This,” the West Virginia Democrat called out strongly from his wheelchair, “is for my friend Ted Kennedy.”

That was very much the story of the massive health-care legislation that finally cleared the chamber Thursday morning. Though Kennedy died in August of brain cancer at age 77, the longtime senator from Massachusetts remained the Democrats’ spiritual floor leader.

Sen. Sherrod Brown:

American families know first-hand that health insurance premiums have been skyrocketing,” Brown said. “This bill will lower costs for middle class families with insurance, while providing help to 31 million Americans who lack it. And insurers will have to play by a new set of rules, including an immediate ban on pre-existing condition exclusions for children.

The bill also invests in small businesses – providing an immediate tax credit to help employers cover their workers. If we’re going to rebuild our economy, we need to ensure that small businesses – which create more than 64 percent of our nation’s jobs – are not crushed by exploding health costs.

Sen. Tom Coburn:

This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.

It will do all of those things (though not well enough), and the rations and cuts and cost of not doing anything is even more enormous. Republicans are only for cost control (and reform) if you don’t actually try. As soon as you do, they are against it.

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