The partisan posturing continues apace from Saturday night, when Senate Democrats barely rounded up enough votes to open formal debate on the health care overhaul.
Three moderates -- Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- were the last holdouts to get Democrats to the magic 60 votes. And it took quite a bit of arm-twisting -- and even then all three made clear they're not on board to vote for the current legislation.
In Landrieu's case, she won provisions that would funnel millions of dollars to her state, a form of legislative extortion Capitol Hill wags are calling the "Louisiana Purchase."
To Republicans, the three Democrats and others violated their principles and sold out their constituents -- and the GOP tries to make the point in a new web video that assigns all sorts of nefarious motives.
“On Saturday night, a number of moderate Senate Democrats sacrificed their principles to bring America dangerously closer to government-run health care," Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "Ben Nelson sold out his conscience and voted in favor of federally funded abortions. Blanche Lincoln sold out her principles by voting in favor of a government-run insurance plan, something she previously said she opposed. And Mary Landrieu simply sold her vote to the highest bidder after Harry Reid added a $300 million earmark just for Louisiana. Voters elected these Senators to represent their best interests. Instead they voted in the dead of night for a health care experiment that will increase taxes, raise premiums, cut Medicare, and use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. This is not the representation Americans deserve. It’s time for these senators to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves who they really work for – their constituents or liberal Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.”
The video says that Democrats acted in the "dead of night," but that's not actually true. The vote came at about 8 p.m. Saturday. That accusation would have been more appropriate for the House vote on health care on Nov. 7, which came after 11 p.m.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.