Just a few highlights from the pre-vote mania on Capitol Hill:
From Ryan Grim at HuffPo:
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) came to the defense of the racists and bigots who shouted slurs at members of Congress Saturday. The Tea Party protesters shouted the ‘n’ word at African-American members of Congress the ‘f’ word at an openly gay member.
Rather than condemn the anachronistic behavior, Nunes blamed the Democrats, saying that they make people do and say crazy things with their tyrannical behavior.
Sam Stein reported on Karl Rove’s bizarre appearance on This Week, which personally I found more than a little off-putting, not because of Rove’s theatrics, but because he was allowed to virtually filibuster the entire segment:
“We will fight the election on this and the Democrats will have significant losses in the House and Senate as a result of this bill,” he said.
“Well listen,” replied David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, “if Karl and a lot of Republicans want to call the election already, they ought to break out that ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner they put on the USS Lincoln.”
All of which drew Rove into a particularly heated rage: “That’s cheesy, David. … You should not denigrate the mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln.”
Although certainly President Obama deserves and will get much credit for his efforts to pass health care reform, the often-ridiculed NancyPelosi has frequently shown more guts than any two men in Congress. From the New York Times:
Scott Brown, the upstart Republican, had just won his Senate race in Massachusetts, a victory that seemed to doom Mr. Obama’s dream of overhauling the nation’s health care system. The White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once Ms. Pelosi’s right hand man on Capitol Hill, was pushing Mr. Obama to scale back his ambitions and pursue a pared-down bill.
Mr. Obama seemed open to the idea, though it was clearly not his first choice. Ms. Pelosi scoffed.
“Kiddie care,” she called the scaled-down plan, derisively, in private.
In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, she conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.
“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”
Finally, I watched today various anti-abortion Republicans cynically use the abortion issue as a wedge to divide Democrats, pretending the Hyde Amendment issue trumped all considerations for them and should for Democrats, too. The problem was, of course, that the Hyde Amendment had nothing to do with their fierce opposition to the reform bill.
The phony sadness with which they came to the microphone at their press conference–after it was clear that Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak was satisfied with Obama’s pledge to sign an Executive Order that would ensure that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions–merely served to trivialize their “principled” stand on the abortion issue.
These days the Republicans have only one solid principle from which they will not budge: Tell outrageous lies as often as possible and hope a few of them will resonate with enough of the American people to regain power.
After the historic vote tonight, the battle for the truth will have just begun. Democrats can’t afford to rest for a minute, as the Republican Machine will be cranked up another notch, and its message will be, in the words of House Minority Leader John Boehner, “This bill will ruin the country.”