and before

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Senior Member

The angry so-called mobs at these town halls may have sniffed out the Kabuki courtship dance taking place between Big Insurance and the Obama administration. Two months back, these two parties were holding hands at the White House, hell bent on getting health reform done fast--and before the public caught on to some pesky details. Details, for example, that show reform narrows-to tight government specifications-rather than expands health insurance choices for virtually all individuals.

(This comes from my English reading material and it seems to originate from

1. Does the blue part mean "they were holding hands; they got bent on getting health reform done fast before the public..."?

2. I don't know why "--and" is used before "before the public". Is it OK to write "..., hell bent on getting health reform done fast, before the public..."?

Thanks in advance!
  • much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    You've got it. And yes, it would also be grammatical to say "get health reform done fast, before the public..."

    The author puts the "and" here to emphasize their duplicity. They make a big show of wanting to get health reform done fast—so that the public doesn't have time to catch on.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Two months ago President Obama and representatives of the insurance companies were figuratively holding hands at the White House, i.e. they were seen to be very cooperative with each other. They seemed to be in a big hurry to make changes to the health insurance laws. The author thinks they were in a big hurry because there were bad things in the proposed laws that they knew the public would find out about, sooner or later. So they wanted to make those changes permanent before the public noticed the bad parts and started protesting about them.
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