Bryon York puts it in perspective:
The extraordinary thing about the dramatic events surrounding the health care bill in the Senate is that there is any drama in it at all. Lawmakers are simply voting to begin debate on their version of health care reform. Just begin debate — not end it, and not move on to a final vote.
If Democrats, with a 60-vote majority in the Senate, were not able to begin debate on the top Democratic policy priority in a generation — well, that would be a devastating turn of events, both for the party and for President Obama. And yet just starting debate has proved difficult, and only today did the 60th Democratic vote fall in place in favor of beginning the process.
I asked a high-ranking Republican Senate source whether it was really that hard to get the Democratic votes together. Could it have been a media-fed story, with reporters looking to inject some unwarranted drama into the proceedings? No, I was told. “It really was that hard for them to get to 60 just to proceed,” the source said. “Very telling.”
And judging by the statements of four moderate Democrats — Lieberman, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Nelson — it will be far, far harder when the process comes to the really important vote, the one that would bring debate to a close debate and move on to an up-or-down vote on the Democrats’ health care plan. Today all four of those Democrats publicly threatened to side with Republicans and kill the bill before it can move to a final vote, unless their concerns are met.
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