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I had a feeling that refusing to pass the 9/11 First Responders Health Bill was going to be the issue that would come back to bite the Republicans.  It was such a blatant show of hypocrisy, after their years-long use of the tragedy in their election backdrops, their fundraisers and their justification for all manner of civil liberties violations.

Perhaps Jon Stewart's scathing takedown of the GOP on this issue, in his final broadcast of the season was the last straw, but it seems as though they've been shamed.

The First Responders that he brought on the show were articulate, appropriately outraged, and also funny.  Placed against clips of Kyl and McConnell, they showed everyone what was real, and what was blatantly false.  Particularly sharp was the takedown of the ridiculous "disrespecting Christians" line of defense for having to work over the Christmas holiday, by a Firefighter who said that no one in any NYC firehouse would feel his faith was disrespected by working Christmas or New Year's Eve.

I am pleased to see that my wonderful Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who stood up so forthrightly for the DADT Repeal, says she has found the votes votes among the GOP for the bill.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said Saturday that she and other sponsors of a stalled 9/11 health bill had won new Republican support for the measure and intended to try again to pass it before the end of the 111th Congress.

After two years of stalling and lying and posturing and getting away with it, this bill exposed the vacuity of GOP Senators' excuses.  The Republicans like to claim that these men are their own guys.  They're patriotic, hardworking, straightforward, "real Amerkins,"  Turning their backs on them for political gain was a jaw-droppingly tone deaf move.  The media may have ignored it, but Jon Stewart shone a spotlight on them.

Kudos to Kirsten, who is shaping up to be one hell of a Senator.  She didn't give up, but went into their camp to keep pushing.  She found some funding that will give them political cover (which, clearly, they shouldn't have needed for this bill), and  

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has indicated that he is open to allowing another vote on the health plan before Congress adjourns.

Maybe she'll turn her attention to revisiting the DREAM Act next.  This time, she only needs to convince OUR people.

UPDATE:  Rec List!  Amazing!  Thanks everybody.  

UPDATE x2: Looks like there will probably be support from Kirk, Collins, Snowe and Murkowski. I find it interesting that Murkowski is shaping up to be a semi-ally after her bruising by Miller.  Nothing like a close call with a genuine wingnut to bring a sense of reality to a Republican.

Originally posted to SottoVoce on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:42 PM PST.

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