Disgusting, deceitful, sleazy, shameful ...use any adjective you like. Unfortunately, the most accurate is usual, as in "politics as usual." Seems Sen. Ben Nelson's principled stand was anything but, and all along it was only about the money. Technically it wasn't a payoff since, as with Mary Landrieu's Louisiana windfall, the money is supposedly for constituents. It's their job, they argue, to represent the interest of the voters who dutifully elect them. Of course the more they bring home the more secure their job. It's a win-win. Except for the rest of us who end up paying for, among other things, Nebraska's Medicaid recipients. And predictably, rather than shunning such deals, other lawmakers are supposedly upset that they didn't hold out for more from Harry Reid.
Speaking of Reid; get this. He's now replaced the 2,000-plus page health care bill the Senate had debated for the last 17 days with a "manager's amendment." As the Wall Street Journal succinctly notes, it's "a bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve... Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning."
So much for openness, transparency, responsibility and a new era of politics. Yet is seems the change we've heard about will in fact happen--in early November 2010.