ENTERING THE ‘TAKING-CREDIT’ PHASE…. Despite incessant whining about the successful economic recovery package, congressional Republicans quietly started taking credit for some of the very efforts they fought so hard against. I suppose it stands to reason, then, that we’ll start seeing something similar on health care reform.

Take Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa, for example. Few, if any, policymakers played as absurd a role in the reform process than Grassley. From advancing demonstrably ridiculous claims to forcing needless to delays to brazen hypocrisy and contradictions, the Iowa Republican has been an obnoxious and regressive force. Given that he was the Senate Republicans’ point-man on health care, this was a problem.

With this context in mind, I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has long been a vocal critic of the Democrat’s health reform efforts, but behind the scenes he’s started taking credit for some provisions of the bill, and talking up his own role in crafting the legislation.

In a release sent out by his staff to reporters today, Grassley says the bill will “hold tax-exempt hospitals accountable for the federal tax benefits they receive” thanks to his work. […]

“The health care legislation signed into law yesterday includes provisions Grassley co-authored to impose standards for the tax exemption of charitable hospitals for the first time,” his staff writes in the memo.

The same memo emphasizes, “In 2009, [Grassley] drafted legislative reforms and succeeded in persuading the Democratic majority to include several of the reforms in the new health care law.”

Remember, Chuck Grassley repeatedly tried to kill the proposal, fought to prevent the Senate from even voting on it, and repeatedly concluded that the law itself is unconstitutional.

But just in case any Americans end up liking what’s in the new law, Grassley also wants folks to know some of the good stuff was his idea (even though he voted against it).

Shameless. Just shameless.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.