While Senator Snowe's yes vote in the Senate Finance Committee was a shock to liberals and conservatives, it is neither a defeat for conservatives nor a victory for liberals. The bill would have passed Committee regardless of how Sen. Snowe voted.
Senator Snowe, in her own words, said her vote was a maybe on the Senate floor. Smart political observers like Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico understand that Snowe's vote radically increases the likelihood of Dem-on-Dem political violence over any single significant move to the left that the Democratic Leadership contemplates when they attempt to merge the bill.
Think of the Snowe vote as tent pegs holding the bill in place, while liberal generated wind storms attempt to move the tent to the left. The chances of the pegs coming out and the tent being blown like a tumbleweed are real and will be devastating to the bill.
Plus, Senator Snowe's voice now carries a high-wattage amplifier with it inside the Democratic leadership. The liberals want a public option? Lose Snowe. Want to bring up a Vapor bill? Snowe is at no. Want to spring legislative language on the Senate without a CBO score of the language? Snowe is at no and so are eight other Democratic Senators who sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid last week requesting a CBO score on actual legislative language and a 72 hour review period by the public of the bill prior to its consideration on the Senate floor. The letter was backed up with threats by the Democratic Senators to employ procedural hurdles if there request is not met, as Congressional Quarterly reported on October 6:
"The effort by the seven Democrats and one independent is significant because the overhaul is unlikely to succeed without their backing. Also, several said that if they do not get their way, they might use procedural tactics to block consideration of the overhaul.”
When legislation is in writing, claims about what it does and does not do are verifiable. The great issues of importance, which will determine if the bill passes, in general, are 1) taxes to pay for the bill, 2) abortion or see this video, 2) benefits for illegal immigrants, 3) gun ownership, 4) Medicare cuts, 5) health reform design, 6) overall government control of our lives, 7) payment levels for physicians and hospitals, 8 ) how spending $1 trillion will impact the value of the dollar, 9) the impact on State's budgets because of Medicaid expansion (see statements by Dem Governors here) and 10) the cost to those with health insurance.
Specifically, here is a detailed list of ten politically significant things that the Vapor bill (a bill without legislative language) can not tell us, but we will find answers to once with have the legislative language.
The answers in the legislative language will form the political battlefield of this bill and the legislative language review will determine, more than any other factor, whether this bill will pass or fail.
Yes, I said fail. Since Senator Lieberman is opposed to the bill in its current form, the opponents of this bill need only one other Democratic Senator to vote to continue the debate, or stated another way, vote to continue the filibuster.
So, for all those who want to kill ObamaCare, it is all about getting as many Democratic Senators to vote no on cloture on the motion to proceed and vote no on cloture on the bill. (Cloture means to end debate or put more clearly, to end a filibuster.) The debate in the Senate, if Senator Reid cannot get cloture, will never end. And each of the issues listed above provides plenty of reasons for the debate to never end, or more likely, to create such opposition because of a Senator's concerns about one or more of these issues that no policy combination can get to 60 votes to end the filibuster.
When a bill that is being filibustered on the Senate floor cannot get cloture, the bill is pulled off the floor.