Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Silent Night, DC

Washington is a ghost town as all through the House, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, and the Senate is quiet too after St. Nicholas showed up this morning to fill Democrats' stockings with 60 votes on health care and for Republicans leave only lumps of coal that they hope to transmute into electoral gold next year.

On his way out the door, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was not full of Christmas cheer. "I guarantee you," he vowed, "the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since Thanksgiving. This fight isn't over."

Not exactly "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night," or as a New York Times analysis headlines it: "In Senate Health Care Vote, New Partisan Vitriol" to describe the first purely party-line vote on major legislation in modern times--"the culmination of more than a generation of partisan polarization of the American political system, and a precipitous decline in collegiality and collaboration in governing that seemed to move in inverse proportion to a rising influence of lobbying, money, the 24-hour news cycle and hostilities on talk shows and in the blogosphere."

As he left for the peace and quiet of Hawaii, President Obama hailed the impending bill as "the biggest social reform since the creation of Social Security in the 1930s," but non-Washington residents may be forgiven for seeing reams of muddle that have yet to be "reconciled" by warring legislators as something less than that.

In his excitement to unwrap the package this morning, Harry Reid drew laughter by almost voting the wrong way, and Robert Byrd evoked tears by casting his Aye "for my friend Ted Kennedy" as the Massachusetts senator's widow looked on.

They have all left town now, leaving the rest of us grateful for a "Silent Night" at last.


John said...

Mr. Stein:
There's one problem with this blog: it's not reaching a large enough audience. You're good. You basically write every day. You've got credentials like few others. Why aren't you writing for The Atlantic or Vanity Fair or McClatchy or the like?

Happy Holidays and all the best in the new year.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

@ John, this is the best-written blog I've ever seen, and I agree that Mr. Stein is under-read. I'd send people over here, but I fear that my crowd wouldn't appreciate the absolute gorgeousness of Mr. Stein's prose and would be rather unpleasant (I guess I can be, too, but it's my abiding admiration for the writing that keeps me coming back).