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The near-total secrecy surrounding the crafting of the Senate Republican health care bill has shocked even the most hardened observers of Washington.

“I’ve covered Obamacare since day one. I’ve never seen lying and obstruction like this,” the headline on one Vox article read. NPR’s Julie Rovner, who’s covered health care for over 30 years, called the secrecy “extreme” and “without precedent.” Dark rumors are spreading about nefarious tactical maneuvers Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be planning in order to evade all but the most minimal scrutiny of the legislation.

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And now we’ve reached perhaps the worst phase of any Washington scandal: the “empty words of protest” phase.

Both the Washington Post and New York Times have stories out Friday morning featuring Senate Republicans wistfully saying that they wish the “process” could be a little better than it is, while making no pledge whatsoever to actually do anything to make it better.

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From the Post:

“My primary concern is writing a bill and not having enough time to analyze it,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said in an interview this week. “I don’t want to get jammed.” Asked to describe his concerns with the process, Johnson quipped, “How much time do you have?”

From the Times:

“I’ve said from Day 1, and I’ll say it again,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. “The process is better if you do it in public, and that people get buy-in along the way and understand what’s going on. Obviously, that’s not the route that is being taken.”

Wow, stirring stuff. I looked for followup sentences where Corker and Johnson said they were demanding that McConnell open the process up, or threatened to vote against the final legislation if there wasn’t broader public consultation on the bill. Reader, I was left wanting.

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We all know what’s going to happen: these cretins are going to go on the Senate floor and mouth platitudes about “wishing this had been done differently.” Then they’ll turn around and vote to throw millions of people off their health insurance and send them to their deaths.