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4:05 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  —  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.”
Tony Romm / The Hill:
Corker: GOP may shift healthcare strategy  —  Senate Republicans will discuss Monday whether to adjust their healthcare strategy to allow a vote on raising the debt limit.  —  Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told CNBC that Republicans could retool their efforts to derail the healthcare bill …
Discussion: TPMDC
Michelle Malkin:
Cash for Cloture: Demcare bribe list, Pt. II
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Health care winners and losers
Discussion: Commentary
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 …
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 and Tom Watson
Kaiser Health News:
The Senate Bill Saves Families Money  —  Health care reform looks like it's finally ready to pass the Senate, now that the Democrats have 60 votes in hand.  But here on the left, not all of us are jumping for joy.  Some think the Senate bill is just barely better than nothing.
Nick Gillespie / Hit & Run:
How Many Americans Will Choose to be Uninsured Even if Insurance is Mandatory?
Discussion: USA Today and Dean's World
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 …
The Huffington Post:
Lieberman: Obama Never Pressed Me On Public Option  —  WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?  —  Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) insists that the White House did not pressure him to get in line behind either a public health insurance option or a Medicare buy-in compromise during the health care debate this year.
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Dean faults White House for death of the public insurance option
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air:
Rasmussen: Dorgan trailing in ND re-election bid by 22 points  —  Call it the Wages of ObamaCare.  When only 30% of a state's likely voters support the one piece of legislation on which the incumbent has worked for most of the year, they tend to get a little chippy about the idea of sending him back to Washington.
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Bill  —  FDL has become the go-to place for coverage of the health care bill due to the work of our incredible team.  Jon Walker's second-to-none knowledge of the health care bill has made the policy and political analysis he offers up at FDL Action a driving force.
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.
Ross Douthat:
Did The Republicans Blunder On Health Care?  —  Yes, say Jonathan Chait and David Frum, in pre-mortems for the G.O.P.'s efforts to derail the Democratic bill.  Chait argues that the Republicans could have sold moderate Democrats on a “vastly more limited” piece of legislation, if they'd been willing to compromise early in the process.
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 …
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:
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:   A SKEWED PERSPECTIVE.... As part of last night's coverage …
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
Right-Wing Hoping Robert Byrd Dies in Time to Block Health Reform  —  Given that the GOP has basically been checkmated on health reform, I found myself wondering yesterday why they're persisting with obstruction tactics.  Surely letting the Democrats just pass the bill and then everyone gets …
Discussion: Think Progress
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Kristol: Draft Pence!  —  Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana has issued an excellent statement on the health care bill.  He calls it “Washington at its worst,” and especially urges “Senators with the privilege of representing the great state of Indiana, to give special consideration to Hoosier families and their values and reject this bill.”
Discussion: Scorecard's Blog and
John R. Bolton / Human Events:
Dick Cheney: HUMAN EVENTS' Conservative of the Year  —  In Washingtonian “inside the Beltway” terms, the most amazing aspect of former Vice President Dick Cheney's new clout is that he is achieving it the old-fashioned way: talking about public policy.  He is not running for President or any other office.
Naomi Klein / The Huffington Post:
For Obama, No Opportunity Too Big to Blow  —  Cross-posted with EnviroNation.  —  Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault.  It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive.
Breeanna Hare / CNN:
Cynthia Nixon: Abortion debate's new voice  —  (CNN) — It's been a little more than a week since Cynthia Nixon flew back from filming “Sex and the City 2” in Morocco, and she's already diving headfirst into the debate surrounding abortion and health care reform.
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 …
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.
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 More Items: 
Robert Tait / Guardian:
Iran cleric's funeral turns into protest
Discussion: Informed Comment and AmSpecBlog
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Sen. DeMint battling NRSC chair Cornyn over conservative primary candidates
Discussion: The Page
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
In Supreme Court Clerks' Careers, Signs of Polarization
Mcjoan / Daily Kos:
An Overview of the New Senate Health Bill
Discussion: IntoxiNation and First Draft
Jillian Rayfield / TPM LiveWire:
Sen. Whitehouse: There Will Be A ‘Reckoning’ …
Discussion: Taegan Goddard's … and Rumproast
Daniel Foster / National Review:
The Wages of Sin (Or, What the 60 Got) — By: Daniel Foster
Tony Romm / The Hill:
Cornyn opposes ending healthcare filibuster, taking up debt increase
Discussion: RedState
 Earlier Items: 
Justin Elliott / TPMMuckraker:
Report: Bush Admin Raised Terror Alert Based On Con Man's Al Jazeera ‘Decoding’ Scam
Discussion: Unqualified Offerings
Robert Samuelson / Washington Post:
Passing health reform could be a nightmare for Obama
Discussion: Commentary and
Robynn Tysver / Omaha World-Herald:
Huckabee rakes bill over coals
Discussion: The Hill
Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years