Guess which Democratic senator is dissing the health care bills 

At National Review Online, Jim Geraghty links to a Howard Fineman Newsweek blogpost, which leads off as follows:

"A Democratic senator I can't name, who reluctantly voted for the health-care bill out of loyalty to his party and his admiration for Barack Obama, privately complained to me that the measure was political folly, in part because of the way it goes into effect: some taxes first, most benefits later, and rate hikes by insurance companies in between.

"Besides that, this Democrat said, people who already have coverage will feel threatened and resentful about helping to cover the uninsured—an emotion they will sanitize for the polltakers into a concern about federal spending and debt."

Who could that Democratic senator be? You might find a clue in this February 16 Fineman Newsweek piece entitled “Six Reasons Why Evan Bayh is retiring,” which contains the following passage:

"Before I go on, I should say that Bayh and I, and our families, have been friends for nearly two decades. Reporters aren't supposed to befriend politicians. But I've been around so long that even I (loner-loser that I am) have acquired a few politician friends, on both sides of the aisle.

"I am not naive, but I find Bayh to be a decent, generally well-meaning, family-oriented guy of sober mien and moderate views—not to mention an affable sports nut and a good basketball player. Behind his famously "bland" exterior is a sharp wit, biting sense of humor, and a detailed appreciation of politics and language. He knows the heartland of the country, even though, paradoxically, he grew in Washington, D.C. Above all, he is as close to a normal guy as I have ever met in politics."

The complaint that “the measure was political folly” sounds an awful lot like Bayh to me. But Howard, as he points out, has lots of friends.

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Michael Barone

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