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Last night, on a party-line vote, the Senate moved toward passage of Democrats' latest version of a health insurance overhaul. Question: Will their reckless defiance of public opinion help or harm them in the longer term? Yes, argues Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson:

[T]he finished product will fall far short of Obama's extravagant promises. It will not cover everyone. It will not control costs. It will worsen the budget outlook. It will lead to higher taxes. It will disrupt how, or whether, companies provide insurance for their workers. As the real-life (as opposed to rhetorical) consequences unfold, they will rebut Obama's claim that he has "solved" the health-care problem. His reputation will suffer.  

Blogger Instapunk, however, sees it differently:

Yes, the Dems will experience huge losses at the polls in 2010, but even the rosiest of all possible electoral scenarios is nowhere near rosy enough to undo the damage the bill would cause. The Republicans could retake the House, but not by the majority the Democrats presently hold. It's less likely, though remotely possible, that Republicans could retake the Senate. However, there's no way on earth the Republicans could command the 60-40 majority that has made possible the currently imminent hijacking of one-sixth of the U.S. economy. [...]

That's why Democrats in the House and Senate are prepared to commit political suicide to pass this bill in the first place. If any bill passes, the federal bureaucracy will permanently control a huge new chunk of our lives and liberties.

Who's right?

The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The 22nd Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting, and Discover magazine’s Melissa Lafsky has won the dis-honor of “Quote of the Year.” On August 27, a few days after Senator Edward Kennedy's death, Lafsky posted the following on the Huffington Post blog:

Mary Jo wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan....We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history....[One wonders what] Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted's death, and what she'd have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows -- maybe she'd have thought it was worth it.

For reference, Kopechne died in the backseat of Kennedy's car after he drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick in 1969, an accident the Senator did not report for several hours.

New Orleans is no longer undefeated. What will today's surprises be?

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: ObamaCare is coming to town.

With Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) selling his soul Saturday, it looks like healthcare reform is imminent. Is there anything the GOP can do to stop it, or is this ship getting ready to sail?

Will the passage of this bill help or hurt Democrats in next year's elections?

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Epic snowstorm to hit Washington, D.C., as President Obama returns from the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Coincidence, or is Mother Nature saying something to the folks that actually believe in the global warming myth?

Nearly 8,000 of you participated in the public online voting for the Best Notable Quotables of 2009 (7,903 to be exact), weighing the idiocy and outrageousness of dozens of quotes from liberal reporters and celebrities. Check the results to see if the ones you picked have won.

If you didn't vote, you can still see the worst media quotes in 16 categories, most with matching video clips.

This first-ever online public ballot matched the one distributed to our 48 official judges — media experts including columnists, magazine editors, editorial writers and talk radio hosts — who are picking the official winners, as they have for 22 years.

The official results will be released Monday, December 21, but here are a few of the quotes that garnered strong support from the many NewsBusters readers and others who participated:

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: House approves $290 billion increase in debt limit.

The 218-214 vote sends the must-pass bill to the Senate, which is expected to approve it as its last act before adjourning for the year. The alternative would be a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: the permanent Democratic majority may not be so permanent.

The sound you're hearing and angry words you're reading suggest that the Democratic party is now being strained at the seams. That's followed by a sweeping sound, as old conventional wisdom is being swept under the rug (again). Some 13 months ago, some analysts were predicting the consolidation of a new Democratic, permanent majority.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: what ever happened to the Obamacons?

"Obamacon" was a category created by E.J. Dionne, or someone like him, to accommodate conservatives who supported and found substantial merit in Barack Obama. It was populated, thinly, by Doug Kmiec, Jeffrey Hart, Christopher Buckley, and perhaps a few others.

Yesterday in a speech for the Media Access Project, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd claimed to refute numerous what he called “exaggerations and distortions” of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions from what he called a “right-wing smear campaign.”  What Lloyd did was offer numerous falsehoods and denials about things that are undeniably true. 

For example, Lloyd has insisted that a "right-wing smear campaign" was "distorting [his] views about the First Amendment" when in fact, in his 2006 book "Prologue to a Farce," Lloyd plainly made clear his view that the freedoms of speech and press were "all too often an exaggeration" and that "the purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."

In response to Lloyd's lies, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell released a statement today [click here for the full press release]:

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Gore gets his hand caught in the climate jar.

In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

Editor's Note: Reposted at 3:00 p.m. EST on December 17. You have 24 more hours left to vote! 

Every year a panel of leading conservative media observers and experts picks the most-biased media quotes for the Media Research Center's annual awards for the year's “worst reporting.” And these judges have done so again this year to decide the 2009 award “winners” with the choices to be announced on Monday, December 21, but...

Now you too can participate via a separately compiled Web ballot! Watch or read the quotes and let us know which ones you think are the worst. Start voting here.

For each of the 16 categories, pick one quote – the one you think is the most outrageous in the category. Then move on through all of the categories. If the buttons are grayed out, that's because you've already cast your votes, but you can still read the quotes and play the videos.

The public Web balloting opened on Monday, December 14 at 10 AM EST and will close at 3 PM EST on Thursday, December 17.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: has the Medicare buy-in road to single payer been the plan all along?

Thankfully, Lieberman may have seen through this ploy. Will others?

What are today's big games and big upsets?

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: you tell us.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: government employees getting raises during a recession.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: is the Medicare buy-in/extension worse than the public option?

To coincide with the many changes at ABC News that begin today with George Stephanopoulos accepting the offer to replace Diane Sawyer as co-host of Good Morning America, NewsBusters's parent organization the Media Research Center (MRC) has unveiled their freshly updated Profiles in Bias of both left wing icons, as Sawyer will step into the World News anchor shoes of Charles Gibson later this month.

These profiles document the 12 years that Stephanopoulos has dedicated to left wing advocacy and more than 10 years Sawyer has delivered on-camera at ABC. From lavishing praise to liberals like Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and President Obama to undermining conservatives and pushing their personal policy agendas, both anchors have provided endless of examples to cite. These Profiles in Bias also include more than a dozen videos of on-camera lowlights.

"This is nothing more than a pathetic game of lefty musical chairs," MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell scoffed. "The All Barack Channel has managed to keep all their liberal blood in the family, rotating anchor chairs and ensuring the same left-wing cheerleading and conservative bashing will continue in their network morning and evening hours for years to come."

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: the left frantically searches for a billionaire to blame.

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Palin-hater gets what's coming to him.