December 21, 2009
A Class Act

From Ezra Klein:

Ted Kennedy spent a lifetime serving in the Senate. His warm relationships with his Republican colleagues were proof that the Senate’s unique culture could foster a cooperative environment between liberals and conservatives. His many bipartisan bills served as proof that, at one point, it actually had. But when his death threatened to imperil the passage of the bill he considered the work of his life? Not a single Republican stepped forward to assure him that his absence wouldn’t be the decisive factor. There was no offer to act, at least from the standpoint of procedural votes, as if the wishes of Kennedy, or of the voters who elected him, mattered.

Another example came last night, when the ailing Robert Byrd was wheeled in at 1 a.m. to break a filibuster on the manager’s amendment. Byrd’s presence was not required, especially considering that he’d clearly telegraphed his intention to vote to break the filibuster. But Republicans forced him to travel to the chamber. Indeed, shortly before he arrived, Sen. Tom Coburn headed to the floor to propose a prayer. “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” he said. “That’s what they ought to pray.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at December 21, 2009 04:14 PM
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