Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2009

BILL KRISTOL, PUBLIC SAFETY ADVOCATE.... Bill Kristol makes no secret of the fact that he hopes to see Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) kill health care reform. But today, the Weekly Standard editor came up with a new reason for Nelson, not just to kill the bill, but to do so today.

There's a really big snowstorm coming to D.C.tonight. It would be unsafe to ask all the staffers and Hill employees who'd be needed at the Capitol if Congress stays open all hours this weekend, as Harry Reid intends, to drive to and from work--especially since many will have to do so at night, and they won't be well-rested. So from the point of view of public safety and personal well-being, Ben Nelson can do everyone a favor, announce today he won't vote for cloture, and let everyone stay home this weekend.

Yes, Bill Kristol wants support for a Republican filibuster because it's likely to snow.

Kristol, you may recall, was the far-right activist/media figure who advised congressional Republicans 15 years ago to overlook the policy and the consequences for Americans, and just "kill" the Clinton health care reform initiative outright. To do otherwise, Kristol said, would be to risk more Democratic gains, and put Republicans in a difficult electoral position for the indefinite future. Republicans, for their own good, had to put the party's interests above the country's, he said.

This is also the same Kristol who argued in July that Republican lawmakers should "resist the temptation" to work with Democrats on a bipartisan solution to the broken status quo. "Go for the kill," he advised the GOP, adding, "Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it."

And now he's been reduced to relying on the weather as an excuse. How sad.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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"And now [Kristol has] been reduced to relying on the weather as an excuse. How sad."

What's sad is that a lot of people actually take this clown seriously.

Posted by: Chris on December 18, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why wait for Nelson? Surely there is another DINO like Landrieu next in line waiting for their moment of glory, willing to kill the bill unless their conditions are met.

Posted by: qwerty on December 18, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still thinking about what Democrats can do about filibusters. Maybe somebody (Steve) can answer a question of mine: Do Senate rules say that a bill must be voted on within a certain length of time or it's dead? Would it be possible for the Democrats to simply say that a bill will remain on the floor until it's passed or defeated? In other words, could they just accept the filibuster, and let the debate continue as long as the opposition feels like talking, but refuse to move onto other business until the bill is voted on?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on December 18, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I actually agree with Bill Kristol. If Bill Nelson isn't going to vote for cloture, just tell us now so we can figure out who will.

Posted by: DR on December 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I am an old home health nurse, who drove in blizzards and ice storms to see my patients. If these clowns can't show up to work, they need to get a different job.


Posted by: Marcey on December 18, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Great question Daryl. I'm interested as well.
FYI, here's the wiki link that defines the procedure for invoking cloture (ending filibuster). My apologies if I'm the only one here who still couldn't get this straight.

Posted by: Chopin on December 18, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Attention residents of D.C.: Find your swimsuits and frisbees, 'cause Bill Kristol just predicted snow.

Posted by: jibeaux on December 18, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus. A snowstorm. Everyone's going to die.

Where did Kristol grow up, Hawaii?

Posted by: John Emerson on December 18, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Notice how, once liberals started abandoning ship, we are now talking about moving to the House version rather than about what we should give up for the center: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/18/white-house-will-try-to-p_n_397022.html

Once Dean came out, for the first time, we had Landrieu defending this bill rather than saying what was wrong with it.

Notice how, for the first time, we are seeing some movement against the backwards slide, again, pushing HCR in the right direction, right at the moment where Nelson is trying to get rid of everything good that's left.

The second liberals stood up and started to leave, the Chris Matthews and Village rallied AROUND HCR to be against us! They are now its defenders! Now that we're against it, HCR is, in Joe Klien's eyes, the right thing to do! Again, it's us against the Village - with the Village rallying around reform!

Negotiation 101, people.

Posted by: Memekiller on December 18, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

And now he's been reduced to relying on the weather as an excuse. How sad.

Could be worse. Kristol could be using the weather as an excuse to invade Iran.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on December 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

nearly all of bill kristol's thoughts reveal the mind of a potential genocidal maniac.

i'm sooo glad he concerns himself with the health and well-being of the necessary bureaucracy for such crimes against humanity...

Posted by: neill on December 18, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Gives meaning to the term "snow job."

Let it snow, let it snow

Oh the GOP is so frightful

let it snow,

let it snow.

"twas the night before Christmas,

not a creature was stirring,

not even The House.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 18, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Thank goodness the patriots at Valley Forge weren't as wimpy as Kristol. Sheesh. Like snow in DC even counts as snow. Has he been to Minnesota?

Posted by: biggerbox on December 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

----Jesus. A snowstorm. Everyone's going to die.

Where did Kristol grow up, Hawaii?----

He's a Washington D.C.-ite. They are spectacularly infamous for being unable to drive in the snow.

Posted by: Tim H on December 18, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Makes me even prouder to be a Minnesotan. Can someone in DC get him really drunk so he can fall down and pass out in a snowbank.

Posted by: the seal on December 18, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I hope Mr. Kristol is careful driving in the snow. We wouldn't want him to have a horrible accident and have to rely on his insurance to cover his surgeries and months of rehab...

Posted by: josef on December 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kristol's excuse could just as easily work the other way - vote for cloture and pass the bill so everyone could go home for Christmas

Posted by: wbn on December 18, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

wbn (@ 15:12) just stole my thunder; that was my solution to Kristol's humanitarian worry too :) Pass the thing and hit the road before it starts snowing. Stop for groceries on your way home, then hunker down with your family. It's snowing here in my "Lextropolis" also -- a rare event. But it didn't start till 14:30... plenty of time to get stuff done, if you look lively about it.

Posted by: exlibra on December 18, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Nicholson @1:51 FTW! Excellent!

Posted by: Athena on December 18, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The one thing that probably more than else provides sustenance to some of the Democratic Senators in their travails on the HCR legislation is that Bill Kristol is still against it. That means that there must be some progress in there somewere.

Posted by: eserwe on December 18, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I despise Kristol, I think it's likely that his post here was tongue in cheek and not intended to be taken seriously.

Posted by: Luke on December 18, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Not to defend William the Bloody, but they're saying 20 inches in DC - that's a lotta snow anywhere

Posted by: krowe on December 18, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say mixed metaphors are the least of Kristol's offenses against the entire planet.

Posted by: daphne on December 18, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

As an RN, 32 years, home care and hospital, this is the drill:

Home care: have plenty of weight, chains, drive as close as you can and walk. Good boots - high, gators are helpful, with good soles. Snow shoes are especially good.

Hospital: take a duffle with jammies, extra clothes and toiletries. Sleeping over is common - as are double shifts - until the next crew can get in to take over. Not uncommon for the ones on shift during the snow storm to stay even though they may not have clean stuff. Usually they can get scrubs, linens and toiletries from the hospital.

They can just keep remembering the 47 million of us who got a snow job from the private health insurance companies on our insurance premiums. Pre-existing conditions, new conditions, age, sex, and all the other factor that prevents them from accepting us at an affordable rate.

Posted by: Ginny in CO on December 18, 2009 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Daryl McCullough asks, "Would it be possible for the Democrats to simply say that a bill will remain on the floor until it's passed or defeated?"

I'm not an expert on Senate procedure, but I'm pretty sure that the majority leader plus 49 other Senators could do that. The problem is that there are other pieces of the Obama agenda that Democrats want to pass, such as financial reform. There is nothing that would delight Republicans and their Wall Street backers more than for the Senate to spend the next six months doing nothing besides trying to break a filibuster of the health care reform bill. So I think that Democrats could say that the health care reform bill will remain on the floor until it is voted on, but they won't.

Posted by: Kenneth Almquist on December 18, 2009 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Krystol's an idiot. Most in DC take the train or the subway, and don't drive.

Have a clue.

Posted by: GK on December 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ooops. Kristol, not Krystol.

Either way, he's an idiot by any other name.

Posted by: GK on December 18, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Big Ben won't use the weather, but Joe Lieberman will, you betcha. According to Ben Beutler at Talking Points Memo, Lieberman Skips Town! for Connecticut, soon to be snowbound.

Posted by: oldswede on December 19, 2009 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK
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