Conservatives are used to anchors pounding their desks for ever-larger tidal waves of social spending, but Woodruff wasn't done protesting Kennedy's supposed sellout to conservatives: "Whatever you do in the Senate is going to have to be compromised in the direction of the House version, which is much friendlier to the insurance industry and which has provisions in it which you've already called a poison pill."
Where, oh, where was even the pretense of objectivity in that screed? That hysterical statement is code for a White House proposal that would give senior citizens a drug subsidy if they chose private health plans. That's the "poison" a socialist can't swallow.
If by now you haven't already heard enough to conclude that Judy Woodruff sounds like she's repeating questions yelled into her earpiece by James Carville as he's getting his makeup on for "Crossfire" in the next room, it gets worse. She started worrying like a Democratic precinct captain about how this apparently premature compromise of socialism is hurting the Great Society Party's chances. "At a time when the Democrats are trying mightily to carve out distinct positions for themselves against a very popular Republican president," she complained, "in effect, what you have done is helped a Republican president take a very controversial issue off the table."
This question is totally at odds with the usual network protocol (if there still is such a thing). Anchors usually greet the passage of liberal legislation with words like "finally," sounding exasperated at any delay in the liberal agenda. Anchors usually tut-tut any attempt to save "the issue" for campaign season instead of stomping the accelerator pedal down on more government. But Senator Kennedy was up to the Woodruff challenge, promising another pot of taxpayer gold over the rainbow. "When we pass this, we are going to say in 2004, elect Democrats. We'll finish the job."
It's a good thing "Inside Politics" attracts a wonky audience of political veterans, because the unschooled viewer would find it easy to conclude from this interview that Ted Kennedy is a rogue conservative Democrat helping George W. Bush's political chances at the expense of needy old people. Now what was that fuss about the biased anchors on FOX?