The Spectacle Blog

The “Cornhusker Kickback” is Dead — On to the Vincenzo Pentangeli Strategy?

By on 3.4.10 | 9:15AM

In the Godfather Part II, Michael Corleone finds himself in a legal jeopardy when witness Frankie Pentangeli is poised to testify against him before a Senate hearing on organized crime. "The FBI has him air-tight -- he's on an army base twenty-four hour guards," his aide tells him. Without a way to get to the witness, Frankie's brother Vincenzo suddenly surfaces in the Senate hearing room before the testimony -- in Michael's company. Frankie clams up, and Michael gets off scott free. (Watch the scene here.)

Now, we wouldn't want to compare our leader's efforts to bring quality affordable health care to all with these sort of unsavory tactics. But President Obama just announced a strategy to ram health care through Congress at a time when the "Cornhusker kickback" has given special deals meant to win over holdouts a bad name. In view of this, I'll point to John McCormack's observation that Obama has just awarded a judicial appointment to the brother of Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who voted against the health care bill in November but who is now undecided.

A local news station reports that Matheson and the administration are dismissing claims that there's a connection:

White House officials call the implication that Matheson's nomination has something to do with his health care vote "absurd."

Matheson says he hadn't even had time to talk to his brother, Scott. But he did scold news outlets for asking about the timing.

As Michael Corleone later tells his wife, "It was between the brothers Kay -- I had nothing to do with it."

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