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Reid Caves to Lieberman, And?

Let’s play a what if game, shall we?

According to a numerous reports, Senator Reid has caved to Senator Lieberman’s demands — NO public option, NO trigger, NO Medicare buy-in.

Senator Reid now needs 60 votes to pull the public option out of the bill. Will all the liberals, the Burris-Sanders-Franken-Brown-Feingold block of Senators, and perhaps others, vote to pull the public option out of the bill?

Burris and Sanders have said publicly they would not vote for any bill without the public option. They likely will not vote to pull the public option.

And will these liberals see from the way Senator Lieberman has whip-sawed the caucus and the White House that if they just hang tough, they can get what they want? In short, will these liberal Senators pull a Lieberman? My guess is they will, yes, they will threaten to vote against any amendment to pull the public option out of the bill.

My guess is also that the Dems would not believe them, and will force a vote to call their bluff. This is where it gets interesting, because the Republicans will have to vote to keep the public option in the bill, and the Dems would have to vote to pull the public option out of the bill. (BIG FUN). But the vote will likely come in the manager’s amendment — so it will not be that clear cut.

(The Republicans would want to keep the public option in to kill the bill with Lieberman’s vote on cloture, and the Dems would want to pull the public option out of the bill, to keep Lieberman’s vote on cloture with them. It’s all a little weird, isn’t it?)

So, does Sen. Reid get 60 votes to pull the public option? To keep our what if scenario alive, let’s say he gets 60. But, Sen. Reid still needs 60 votes to end the filibuster on the bill, which is where the Sanders-Burris-Franken-Feingold-Brown block could threaten to vote to keep the filibuster going — just as Lieberman has done — because the public option (at this point in our what if game) is not in the bill.

It is this threat that has the real teeth — because only one of the liberal Senators need to be firm and unyielding to get the caucus to keep the public option in the bill. Keep the public option in, or I vote no on cloture (to end the filibuster), just like Lieberman has done. This credible threat would eliminate the need the to go through the drama of pulling the public option out of the bill in the first place.

And even if the Dems thread all these needles, they still have the problem of Senator Nelson’s abortion demands. Again, Senator Reid needs 60 votes to put Senator Nelson’s abortion restrictions in the bill, and you can just imagine how the pro-abortion crowd would feel about that. So, does Reid get 60 votes to put the abortion restrictions in the bill, or not? The Senate has already voted down Senator Nelson’s abortion restrictions, and Nelson came no where close to 60 votes.

This is how the progressive [2] DailyKos put the left’s position, this morning:

“there is likely a breaking point for those progressives and they can make life very difficult for Pelosi to reach 218. They’ve bent pretty far thus far, and the pressure on them to pass something, anything, will be extreme. But there could very well be a breaking point for them, and it’s likely to be what Joe Lieberman would strip from the bill, and what Ben Nelson would add to it. That’s part of the equation that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have to keep in mind.”

This is how the progressive DailyKos put the left’s position, this morning:

“there is likely a breaking point for those progressives and they can make life very difficult for Pelosi to reach 218. They’ve bent pretty far thus far, and the pressure on them to pass something, anything, will be extreme. But there could very well be a breaking point for them, and it’s likely to be what Joe Lieberman would strip from the bill, and what Ben Nelson would add to it. That’s part of the equation that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have to keep in mind.”

The fundamental problem for the Democrats is that the American public are at a very hard NO on the legislation, and politically the bill has failed. The symptoms of the political failure of ObamaCare are being expressed as the public option and abortion, but tomorrow it could be some other issue — since the political fundamentals of the bill are so bad.

As a general strategy, asking Senators to go through huge voting contortions — to then hurt themselves politically with their voters is not a winning strategy.

Given the foregoing, I doubt that the Dems can pull it all off, so — in the end — I still don’t see ObamaCare getting off the Senate floor.

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