December 28th, 2009
09:18 AM ET
3 months ago

Four new kings of the Hill in Washington

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) is one of four senators who hold great power in today's Washington, Julian Zelizer says.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) is one of four senators who hold great power in today's Washington, Julian Zelizer says.

Editor's note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is "Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security - From World War II to the War on Terrorism" published by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely about current events.

Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) - Last month, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a strong defender of the public option for health care, warned: "I don't want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it is not going to be in it."

But in the end, those senators won the battle over the public option, as well as several other provisions in the health care bill.

They have emerged as the powerhouses of the Senate.

Full story


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Terry from West Texas

    The US Senate is the most dysfunctional institution in our government. The regressive rules adopted by the Senate favor the most backward forces in the country. The US Senate never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    December 28, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Liberal wingnut

    Isn't the liberal left already dictating health care on America?

    December 28, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. West

    Since the Democrats seem to feel bribery is the best option it is no wonder Nelson and others are in the drivers seat since they have shown they are most susceptible to being bought off- Pity that that seems to be the way things are done in DC on both sides- in the real world would end you in jail or at the least fired in their world it is just business as usual and don't care who knows it

    December 28, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Kings can be de-throned - and a couple of these DINOs need to be kicked out next time their election is held.

    December 28, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Liberal wingnut

    The polls show Americans do not want the plan so this guy i saying that its not democracy since he cant jam his public version through??

    December 28, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. unemployed by Obama

    Its the crooked of the crookedest, Common criminals that had their votes bought. Another criminal act by our crooked senators who should be arrested and put in jail along with their wanna be dictator leader obama.

    December 28, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. mjm

    If the Libs would write better bills they might be able to get more than 60 votes.

    December 28, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. New Yorker

    Ever wonder how many liberals hold jobs that are funded with taxpayer $$ ?

    December 28, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. katiec

    Somehow these four have to be knocked off their ego trip and allowed no more power than anyone else. They sculptured the Health Care Reform bill into their beliefs, gains and lost all sight of or concern for what was
    truly needed in this bill.
    No one politician deserves or should have control and something must be done to make sure it does not happen again. Our country should not be victims of their irresponsible behavior.

    December 28, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. RichP the Pocono's

    Right on up to the elections in 2010, then lets see who the power houses are. Time to elect these career carpet baggers out of office and replace them with true representatives instead of the faux royalty that currently infests DC.

    December 28, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Silence Dogoode

    Time for term limits and a constiutional law professor to explain things like:

    1. Precedent will make this health care eventually available to illegal aleins

    2.The US Constitution is very clear that if there is goverment health care it is up to the STATES not the FEDERAL governement, making this an unconstitutional move.

    December 28, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Puddin

    They may be "powerhouse" senators, but they are also obvious crooks. They are no doubt bowing to their campaign contributors....the big insurance companies. A "pox" on them.....

    December 28, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. Mike1952

    The american people are vastly conservative to moderate. Liberals are a fringe minority. These senators are doing the will of the majority to an extent. Now if they had slammed the health insurance bill they would have been doing exactly the will of the majority.

    December 28, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Keep it real.......

    This article was posted on December 28th after 60 votes stopped a fillibuster by Republicans. These four Senators don't really seem to be Capitol Hill Kings. After Conference Committee when the two bills start to become merged as one, there will only be 51 votes needed from the Senate to pass the merged bill. The vote of these four phony kings won't matter much. The Public Option may not pass.....but the expanded Medicare program 55-64 may certainly pass....and the expanded program is still a Government run option making a complete victory for the Democratic base.

    December 28, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    More like Four new Crooks if you ask me. Term Limits people, Term Limits.

    December 28, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. ran

    IT is now a sad day for the American people when our needs are being dictated by a few like Nelson, Lieberman and blue dogs.

    Demand from your elected officials to do what is right for us not for their reelection bid or some special interest group.

    I say use reconciliation on any and all bills. That may get these obstructionist attention.

    The use of the filibuster has been used more times in the Senate this session then all of the 1970s.

    December 28, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. billy123

    This is due to the fact no GOP Senator will not vote for anything and the Dems need 60 votes to pass anything in the U.S. Senate.

    If the Dems split on their votes the GOP will come out and state see the Dems cannot govern. I just hope the GOP remembers when they are in the majority what comes around goes around.

    December 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Chas in Iowa

    "Health Care Reform" without a public option is not health care reform. It is just a license for the insurance companies to further rape the American public enconomiclly with a requirement that we all partisipate.

    December 28, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Ken from missouri

    These are the senators that will save the democrats from themselves
    if it wasn't these senators we would have a single payer health care
    system.

    December 28, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Phil Daniels

    Many people are afraid. They prefer a simple federal government that is low cost. They have seen their state governments fail badly by over regulating. This has strangled business and forced them to go elsewhere. The Public Option is a necessary evil. Without it individuals will be wasting money because they are not going to get treatment. They will die or suffer more expensive complications.

    December 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. tony

    Their power will end when Republicans make gain in the next year's election, making a filibuster-proof majority impossible. Once Democrats lost their 60-vote majority Republicans will block anything except tax cuts from passing and Democrats will prevent any laws they passed from being repealed. That will ensure nothing happens until 2012. In the meantime the public will just have to live with the private option (now that there is no public option our only option is the insurance companies, which will have a free hand to run one-sixth of the economy) and no real control on insurance premiums. Insurance companies can raise the premiums as high as they want. It is not as if we have another option to turn to.

    December 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Middle Class

    Same crap...different group. Same old story with our elected officials. I don't care what party you are from, we should all be outraged at all of them for continuing the same old government. Until people change and demand results, we will continue to have jerks like this running around telling everyone what to do and how to vote.

    December 28, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Annie, Atlanta

    This should be our wake up call. When monied interests and religion influence 4 old men in the Senate over what a majority of 300M people want and need, our government no longer works for us. Campaign finance reform is a first step in the right direction to rid us of corporate masters. The religion thing is more problematic. It has no place in government, unless we want to model ourselves after Iran.

    December 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |