Despite the fact that the only thing bipartisan about Sen. Max Baucus' long-awaited health care reform bill is that both parties generally dislike it (or worse), the Montana senator still expresses utmost confidence that it's the clay from which the final bill—which he's certain will pass by the end of the year—will be molded.
After speaking at this afternoon's dedication of the University of Montana's spiffy new law school building, he took a few minutes to chat with local reporters. This is what he had to say when I asked what he makes of the decidedly negative reaction to his bill coming from both sides of the aisle:
“I’m very pleased," he said. "I’m very pleased. And I’m not being coy about that. I’m very pleased. Because the underlying sense, the subtext of all this, is, 'Hey, this is about right, this is about where legislation (should be) that will come out of the Senate, that will pass the Senate, and that the president will sign.' It’s very close to what the president outlined in his (recent address). It’s very close. There are very few differences. And the feeling that, 'Hey, this is about in the middle, it’s balanced, it’s broad-based, it’s common sense, it doesn’t go too far in one direction or the other.' Sure, it can be improved upon a little bit, but there’s a growing sense of inevitability that this is the direction we’re going. You can feel it. People are offering amendments, not to break it up, but to improve upon on it. They want to vote for something that passes, and they want to improve the bill so they can more enthusiastically vote for something that passes. So I’m very pleased.”