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1:10 PM ET, December 21, 2009


 Top Items: 
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
An ugly finale for health-care reform  —  Going into Monday morning's crucial Senate vote on health-care legislation, Republican chances for defeating the bill had come down to a last, macabre hope.  They needed one Democratic senator to die — or at least become incapacitated.
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
A Dangerous Dysfunction  —  Unless some legislator pulls off a last-minute double-cross, health care reform will pass the Senate this week.  Count me among those who consider this an awesome achievement.  It's a seriously flawed bill, we'll spend years if not decades fixing it, but it's nonetheless a huge step forward.
New York Times:
Health Bill Passes Key Test in the Senate With 60 Votes  —  WASHINGTON — After a long day of acid, partisan debate, Senate Democrats held ranks early Monday in a dead-of-night procedural vote that proved they had locked in the decisive margin needed to pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's health care system.
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Deep in Health Bill, Very Specific Beneficiaries  —  WASHINGTON — Buried in the deal-clinching health care package that Senate Democrats unveiled over the weekend is an inconspicuous proposal expanding Medicare to cover certain victims of “environmental health hazards.”
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Bipartisan Tragedy  —  I quoted David Gergen earlier saying that public opinion may cause the final bill to ultimately fail, which I agree may be remotely possible.  But that's the last rational thing he said all night.  At the moment of the passage of the cloture vote in the Senate, he blurted this out:
Michelle Malkin:
Cash for Cloture: Demcare bribe list, Pt. II  —  A month ago, I compiled Part I of the Demcare bribe list as Harry Reid rushed before Thanksgiving to secure his first cloture vote on the government health care takeover.  (Quick re-cap: $300 million Louisiana Purchase for Landrieu …
Wall Street Journal:
Change Nobody Believes In
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Health care winners and losers
Discussion: Commentary
Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic Politics Channel:
Breaking Analysis: The Senate Votes For Cloture
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
A SKEWED PERSPECTIVE.... As part of last night's coverage …
Discussion: The Plum Line
Charles Lemos / MyDD:   A Broken United States Senate
Ezra Klein:
The amazing disappearing bill  —  There's a lot of talk over whether the health-care bill should begin before 2014, and whether the long delay will give the GOP sufficient time to foment a backlash.  On the one hand, the bill should certainly begin before 2014.
Discussion: TalkLeft
Martina Stewart / CNN:
Obama gets an ‘A’ for effort from Schwarzenegger  —  Washington (CNN) - Not every Republican is a critic of President Obama.  At least one thinks the president is doing a fine job - at least when it comes to the effort involved in being the country's chief executive.
Kpicket / The washington times Blogs:
Sen. Whitehouse: foes of health care bill are birthers, right-wing militias, aryan groups  —  ****Updated with video link and more transcript  —  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today took shots at those who are not supporting the health care legislation.
CNN Poll: 6 point jump in support for health care bill  —  Washington (CNN) - Support for the health care reform bill that Democrats are pushing through the Senate has risen six points since early December, according to a new national poll, and although a majority of Americans still oppose its passage …
Discussion: The Page
Rasmussen Reports:
Election 2010: North Dakota Senate  —  2010 North Dakota Senate: Hoeven 58%, Dorgan 36%  —  Incumbent Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan may have a serious problem on his hands if Republicans recruit Governor John Hoeven to run for the U.S. Senate in North Dakota next year.
Howard Fineman / Newsweek:
Tim Pawlenty Gets No Respect  —  He doesn't have Sarah Palin's pizzazz or Mitt Romney's money.  But the governor of Minnesota may be a shrewd Republican bet in 2012.  —  Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty  —  From the magazine issue dated Jan 4, 2010  —  In the run-up to the 2008 Republican convention …
Paul Krugman:
The WYSIWYG president  —  There's a lot of dismay/rage on the left over Obama, a number of cries that he isn't the man progressives thought they were voting for.  —  But that says more about the complainers than it does about Obama himself.  If you actually paid attention to the substance …
Drew Westen / The Huffington Post:
Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010: Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values, and the Quest for the Lowest Common Denominator  —  As the president's job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent …
Ezra Klein:
Remembering Obama's campaign health-care plan  —  “Though the American left and right don't agree on much,” wrote Frank Rich over the weekend, “they are both now coalescing around the suspicion that Obama's brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger's public image.”  —  It's hard to imagine why.
Jonathan Chait / The New Republic:
The Rise of Republican Nihilism  —  What happened to all those GOP ideas?  —  Does the Republican Party have any ideas?  The query may have a familiar ring.  Five years ago, the question of substance was demanded incessantly of the Democrats.  Indeed, in one of those intellectual fads …
Discussion: Democratic Strategist
Washington Post:
Fed's approach to regulation left banks exposed to crisis  —  Foreclosures already pocked Chicago's poorer neighborhoods but the downtown still was booming as the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago convened its annual conference in May 2007.  —  The keynote speaker, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke …
Robert Samuelson / Washington Post:
Passing health reform could be a nightmare for Obama  —  Barack Obama's quest for historic health-care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership.  We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America's long-term interests.
Discussion: Commentary and
Justin Elliott / TPMMuckraker:
Report: Bush Admin Raised Terror Alert Based On Con Man's Al Jazeera ‘Decoding’ Scam  —  A self-styled Nevada codebreaker convinced the CIA he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts, prompting the Bush White House to raise the terror alert level to Orange …
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 More Items: 
Breeanna Hare / CNN:
Cynthia Nixon: Abortion debate's new voice
Kaiser Health News:
The Senate Bill Saves Families Money
Discussion: Ezra Klein and Newsweek Blogs
Mickey Kaus / Kausfiles:
Health Care: Will Kabuki kill Pong?
Discussion: RedState
Tony Romm / The Hill:
Corker: GOP may shift healthcare strategy
Discussion: TPMDC
Pamela Geller / American Thinker:
Jews Who Won't Support Their Allies
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Atlas Shrugs
John R. Bolton / Human Events:
Dick Cheney: HUMAN EVENTS' Conservative of the Year
 Earlier Items: 
Robynn Tysver / Omaha World-Herald:
Huckabee rakes bill over coals
Discussion: The Hill
Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
After criticism, Reid vindicated by early-morning vote on healthcare
Luke Mitchell / Harper's:
Understanding Obamacare … The idea that there is a competitive …
Washington Post:
The Salahis' night at the White House and a contentious day after
Discussion: The Page