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    February 25, 2010

    Focus-group tested and approved

    Posted by: Chris

    Say what you want about Chris Matthews -- and his choice today of former S.F. Mayor Willie Brown to discuss health care reform was pretty darn mystifying -- but I continue to enjoy the way "Hardball" cuts through the spin. Just check out the montage they produced on the Republican and Democrat talking points at today's health care summit.

    The GOP hit list -- "scrap the bill," "let's start over" with "a clean sheet of paper" and go "step by step" -- runs from 1:00 to 2:00.  The Democratic strategy, to strike a bipartisan tone and emphasize about how the two sides aren't so far apart, begins at 3:30.

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    All in all, the overscripting of the Republican talking points makes a mockery of any claim that they showed up today with an eye toward anything other than the cameras there recording the festivities. It's one thing to set a tone or advance a general strategy, but it's quite another when speaker after speaker "extemporaneously" hits the exact same notes, even using the exact same words. What has become of the party of ideas?

    The worst of the worst, of course, was John McCain, who has either become so bitter about losing the election or so paranoid about his primary challenger from the right, that he has become an "angry old man" caricature. This small man now bears absolutely no resemblance to the energetic, centrist, independent John McCain who impressed me and so many others when he first ran for president just one decade ago.

    At this point, President Obama has done everything reasonably expected of him with regard to bipartisan effort. I have my own doubts and concerns about the size of "Obamacare" and its effect on the deficit, but it's also clear that the loyal opposition isn't loyal enough to the process to be a real bargaining partner. The Democrats should do exactly what reports suggest they will: The House will pass the Senate bill, thereby passing through Congress (with 60 votes in the Senate), the health care reform bill, and will then use reconciliation to push through with a simple majority vote the "fixes" to the Senate bill that House Democrats need to get on board and to excise Ben Nelson's "Cornhusker Kickback."

    All I can say is it's about. damn. time.

    P.S. Did Willie Brown always have RuPaul eyebrows or did this "San Francisco Democrat" get a drag queen makeover?

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