Health Care Bill Turning Senate Into a Reality ShowS

After a weekend spent frantically preparing for a series of important health care votes, our nation's esteemed Senators are bickering, exhausted and undersexed. And about one bitch slap from breaking down on C-Span and begging to be sent home.

Earlier this morning, the health care bill just passed a first crucial test with 60 votes. But this was preceeded by a weekend of hi-jinks, accusations of betrayal and complaining about not being able to have sex with one's wives. And there's still another week before the final vote!

As with all reality television, Survivor: DC is premised on shoving a number of Type A people into a high-stress situation and letting the darker sides of human nature reveal themselves. Reports Politico:

A marathon session of early-morning, late-night and weekend votes - all coming after senators are typically home for the holidays - has everyone on edge in the cooped-up Capitol, with testy exchanges and harsh recriminations replacing the clubby decorum that usually prevails in the Senate.

100 senators. Three days. One health care bill.

[Ominous music, black and white shot of a senator with her head in her hands.]

During a vote on a Pentagon spending bill early in the weekend, Team Democrats accused Team Republicans—who have been the underdogs all season—of employing that classic trope of reality show skulduggery, the double cross. According to the Times:

Democrats first thought they had Republican commitments to back the measure, but any they had were later withdrawn, setting off complaints of a double cross. Short of votes, Democrats had to prevail upon Senator Russ Feingold, an anti-war Democrat from Wisconsin, to break his pattern of opposing military spending bills and join them.

The vote was so tight that Democrats even had to drag 92 year-old Robert C. Byrd out of bed at midnight—well after his bedtime—to cast his vote. (Remember, contestants: Old people are always liabilities. Their life experience is useless when it comes to physical challenges.)

Health Care Bill Turning Senate Into a Reality Show

Then, Team Democrats repeatedly shut down Republicans when they asked for extra time to make their health care speeches on the Senate floor: Al Franken famously made Joseph Lieberman shut up in retaliation for him threatening to use his Filibuster Totem, while Alaska Sen. Mark Begich nixed a Republican's request for an extra two minutes.

The contestants clearly have their eyes on the prize of health care reform plus a brand new 2010 PT Cruiser. But they haven't forgotten their spouses at home who have gone tragically un-screwed for days while they do fearsome battle in the legislative arena. Writes Politico:

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) - the second-longest-serving senator - said the schedule has taken its toll "physically" and, "at times, domestically." "Wives don't appreciate it," Inouye said.

Contestants are scheduled to cast their final votes on the health care bill Christmas Day. Let's hope Democrats can OUTWIT AND OUTPLAY their rivals by then. For Sen. Inouye's wife's sake.