Jim Geraghty is quite blunt about the consequences of Sen. Kennedy's being absent for today's vote, and Sen. Gregg's return to the Senate: "Guess what, Sens. Snowe, Specter, and Collins? You are providing the decisive votes."
And Senator Reid is worried about this. He's trying to scare up another GOP Senator to give cover to these three - something that even his own people are admitting to be a low probability scenario. Roll Call (no link, sorry) is also reporting that he's trying to pair Kennedy's yes vote to a Republican's no (this requires the approval of the Republican in question, by the way) in order to make it a 61/38 vote on a technicality. Just in case this isn't clear by now: this is contraindicated for any Republican Senator.
So. Going to be a fun vote today, huh? Pelosi and Reid have been hiding knives under their smiles at each other throughout it all, and particularly yesterday: Reid is still scrambling for the support he needs to make sure that his caucus can cash the checks that his ego wrote; Pelosi's inability to control the CBC has likely made Sen Gregg inaccessible to any deal (not to mention, embarrassing the President at the worst possible moment); the Democratic Congressional mood is so ugly that the White House had to send in Rahm Emanuel to keep everything on track; and, in the piece de resistance to this unholy mess of legislation, when they finally got copies of the debt bill that nobody's read and nobody has time to, the first copies went to K Street lobbying firms. No. Really. Democratic staffers were forced to admit to press people today that they didn't have details about things that lobbyists had already told the press. There's something... pure about that.
Don't get me wrong: betting that it'll pass is still the safe bet. But it's going to be one heck of an ugly win, and it's not one that's going to enhance the reputation of Democratic legislators. Or of the three Senators that chose to stand by them.
PS: That being said... repentance is always an option.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.