From the point of view of many consumers, public health, digital rights and development groups, the United States Trade Representative is a major disappointment pushing an anti consumer agenda on dozens of issues.
Senator Snowe may wield a pivotal vote on health care, but it is in a body that is unrepresentative and anti-majoritarian by design. How long are we Americans going to ignore this constitutional defect?
Are the Democrats missing the big picture? If they are, heaven help the sick. Until common ground is found, those millions of American citizens that are sick and without health insurance might not be able to hold on.
By supporting a moderate bill in committee, Snowe has made the GOP, or at least part of it, relevant again; succeeding where Michael Steele, John Boehner, Joe Wilson, Rush Limbaugh and others have failed.
Conservatives are experts at taking peripheral, obscure components of legislation and blowing them up into evidence of a government plot to kill your newborns and serve them as pork burritos to illegal immigrants.
If a health care bill is as critical as the Democrats -- and American public -- say it is, then what matters is passing it in as strong a form as possible, not gutting it for the sake of one, empty Republican vote.
I have little sympathy for Baucus at this point, when he complains that his adversaries have had time to put out a report attacking his bill. Because there is one reason that they've had all that time.