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2:10 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.”
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
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Bipartisan Tragedy  —  I quoted David Gergen earlier saying …
Wall Street Journal:
Change Nobody Believes In
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Health care winners and losers
Discussion: Commentary
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:   A SKEWED PERSPECTIVE.... As part of last night's coverage …
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
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 …
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.
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.
Robynn Tysver / Omaha World-Herald:
Huckabee rakes bill over coals  —  Ben Nelson must have felt like a punching bag.  —  The Democrat was the center of attention at a rally in downtown Omaha on Sunday — and much of the attention was unfavorable, as opponents of the health care legislation in Congress expressed outrage …
Discussion: The Hill
Martina Stewart / CNN:
CNN Exclusive: Nelson answers his critics on health care reform
Discussion: Raw Story
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.
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 …
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 …
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.
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.
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 …
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: 
Gregory Rodriguez / Los Angeles Times:
Stop that Christmas griping
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Democrats: Stop whining and pass health reform
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Steele: Supporters of health reform can expect ‘pink slip’ in 2010
Discussion: The Note
William Kristol / Weekly Standard:
Kristol: Draft Pence!
Discussion: Scorecard's Blog and
Kaiser Health News:
The Senate Bill Saves Families Money
Discussion: Ezra Klein and The Gaggle
Mickey Kaus / Kausfiles:
Health Care: Will Kabuki kill Pong?
Pamela Geller / American Thinker:
Jews Who Won't Support Their Allies
Discussion: Israel Matzav and Atlas Shrugs
 Earlier Items: 
Robert Samuelson / Washington Post:
Passing health reform could be a nightmare for Obama
Discussion: Commentary and
Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years
Washington Post:
The Salahis' night at the White House and a contentious day after
Discussion: The Page