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In light of health-care debate, what America needs is a civility committee

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By Dana Milbank
Sunday, March 21, 2010

On its way to Sunday's big vote, health-care reform made a final stop on Saturday before the House Rules Committee -- or, in this case, the House Unruly Committee.

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"This process corrupts and prostitutes the system" was the opening accusation from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.). Phrases such as "banana republic," "cultural war" and even a lighthearted "So's your uncle" filled the air.

The dialogue, often captured in the closed captioning of C-SPAN as "[Inaudible conversations]" went something like this:

"I didn't say that."

"It's a subversion of the process."

"No it's not."

[Murmur, murmur.]

"Joe, he's gonna sign -- "

"My friend --"

"Let me just -- "

"Sign a bill -- "

"Let's be calm."


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