He's disciplined enough to sit back and wait for his enemies to make a mistake.
Enter Jim Bunning.
It's probably a gross exaggeration to say that Jim Bunning saved health care. (I have no special knowledge as to whether the bill will pass or fail.) But he certainly gave Dems an early Xmas present.
If you don't know about Jim Bunning he is the Kentucky senator (and former Major League pitcher) who staged a midnight coup on the floor of the senate which stopped a vote on 400,000 people from getting their unemployment insurance.
In one fell swoop, he basically confirmed what we always knew about the GOP -- that they're a bunch of heartless, selfish, no-goodniks.
When I saw one of my Republican friends at the Post today he just looked pissed off.
"Political gold for the Democrats," he spat, shaking his head. "Exactly when the Republicans should be keeping the debate focused on health care."
I agree. I feel slightly guilty about it (no, I don't think people's unemployment should be screwed around with just to score political points) but it was definitely a political winner. Republicans can complain about deficits until they're blue in the face, they're not going to get anywhere in 2010 if they look like the party that's tough on the unemployed.
Moreover, Jon Stewart found the clip of Bunning complaining that he, too, was suffering through this vote -- because he wasn't able to watch a basketball game that had been played earlier in the evening. (I wish I was kidding.) I hope every single race for the House and Senate just plays a non-stop loop of Bunning, over and over again. I don't think Americans care that much about "reconciliation" and parliamentary procedure -- but they should be able to recognize an odious scumbag when he preens his feathers on CSPAN.