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
That memorable phrase could aptly be used to describe what happened in the U.S. House of Representatives late Saturday evening. Commander Pelosi essentially forced the Democrats to forget about the potential damage they would do to both the country as well as to themselves, and she ultimately got the outcome she desired.
The final vote was 220-215 with 39 Democrats refusing to vote yes and 1 Republican agreeing to vote yes after the outcome had already been decided at 218 votes in favor. He had a deal with President Obama that is supposed to see more money sent to New Orleans, his home district, for continued transportation funding after Katrina. So his vote was non-essential but most symbolic nonetheless. He, alone, gives the Democrats the ability to talk about a "bipartisan" victory.
Where do we go from here?
The Senate now gets the hot potato tossed into its lap. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has a significant problem as of last Saturday night; one which he'd as soon not have to handle since he is coming up for re-election next year, and his home state constituents are not fond of him at this time.
There is a school of thought that holds that a delay until January, 2010 will doom the bill's chances since such divisive legislation will cost some Democrats their Senate seats. One of those is likely to be Harry Reid, and he doesn't dare chance that outcome.
Now that the House version of reform has been passed, we'll begin to learn details that, until now, have been kept under wraps. These details are almost certainly going to generate more heat than light since they are hot-button issues that change the minds of voters.
Added to this mix is the fact that the House performed so much in the way of transformative change in the bill in order to get the last few votes, that it has too little meat for some and too much for others. If there actually ends up being a Senate version ( toss up at this moment), and if this thing goes to reconciliation between the Senate and the House prior to the final up or down vote, the likelihood that there will be no erosion in the House and in the Senate is almost nil.
The politicians who needed a "hidey space" in which to secret themselves prior to the coming election will have succeeded in approving some version of health care/health insurance reform. They'll hold that it isn't their fault that the final version to emerge from the conference committee was something they just couldn't support in the final analysis. They have their re-election armor all polished and ready to wear.
While the future appears bleak to many of us who do not want this monstrosity to become law, there is a long time between last Saturday and the final outcome. The political games will continue and there is literally no telling what alliances will have been broken and/or formed by the time something else comes to a vote.
The only thing certain following this vote is this: there is nothing certain.
Maybe one of the torpedoes that were damned will prove to have hit the target.