I come here in advance of my next intended post (RobertSchwabPoet.com: a Business Plan) to remark on the politics of Democrats trying to pass a health-care reform bill in time for the president to claim it as an accomplishment in his first State of the Union.
Hardball, to say the least.
One example: Massachusetts election officials say it might take them weeks to certify the election results of the upcoming special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, which the Associated Press points out could preserve for Obama the 60th vote he needsin the current Senate to pass a health-care bill without a Republican filibuster.
I read about the move in an Associated Press item packaged in the Denver Post next to a piece about Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet's protests of the closed-door negotiating between members of their own party to combine separate bills passed by the House and Senate.
The closed-door negotiations are as much an indication of the hardball politics Democratic Senate leaders are imposing on the negotiations, which include Obama at the White House.
Republicans complain that the non-traditional approach to melding the two bills harks to the smoke-filled rooms of lore, but they don't remind their listeners of similarly harsh tactics used by the Congress when Trent Lott and Dick Armey were ruling the roost.
It's true that opening the negotiations to television cameras would make make for a truer "Democratic" result. But no Republicans have indicated any willingness to buck their disciplined ranks to vote for a final bill, so crafting one without them seems the more efficient path.
Bennet rightly criticizes the lack of transparency. But I doubt it will keep him from voting for the historic bill. It should not.