cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
There is much speculation amongst those with a "political" gene as to how the Senate will look and act following the death of Ted Kennedy. I was not a Kennedy fan, but he was a strong force in the Senate especially when the Democrats held a majority. He did seem to work the other side of the aisle to get Republicans on board for some of his programs. I see the bulk of those deals having been a bit more what the Democrats wanted than what the Republicans wanted, but he did get things done.
So now, with the funeral behind us, the speculation is ripe as to where his death takes the Senate, and, therefore, where it might take the country. There is now a 59 to 40 alignment if we presume that those calling themselves Independent actually most often vote with the Democrats. It is very difficult for the Democrats to be sure that Sen. Byrd could be counted on to be able to be present given his health conditions. He did make it out for Kennedy's funeral, but he looked very weak. There is a question of the number of Republicans that might cross over and vote "Yes".
The health care/insurance reform package that President Obama wants is the most critical piece of legislation for the Democrats. He has staked much of his reputation on his ability to get something passed that can be called "health care/insurance reform".
A joint Democrat/Republican 'solution' seems to have escaped the Senate Finance Committee, at least so far.
Then, there is the experience that the collective Senate and House members 'enjoyed' during what passed for town hall meetings. While the press still says that the majority of us are in favor of reform, the real question is what reform we are willing to accept, and what that will do to those who have a vote to cast.
Will Senator Reid actually ram something through the Senate using the 51 vote majority reserved for "reconciliation"? Are the Democrats ready to take the heat for the use of that device? What will the bill look like when it emerges from the cocoon and tries to take flight? Will it be an "around the edges" bill as many believe or will it be the robust bill that resembles what the House has prepared in the 1,018 pages that it built? Are the Senators the more deliberative group than the "rabble" in the House? They think so, but time will tell in this instance.
Whether you are for or against, you cannot afford to relax thinking that the battle has either been won or lost. This is the time when you really need to be pressing your position home. That message seems understood by the Democrats and the liberals given the organizing going on over the last week. Will the Republicans and the conservatives sit on their hands until it is too late?