Alternate headline: “Blanche Lincoln bitter that she was too stupid to wring her own kickback out of Reid.”

The Democratic senator from Arkansas said she was disappointed about a provision in the Senate’s health care bill that will require the federal government to permanently pay the entire cost of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska, while only paying the costs of expansion in the other 49 states for three years.

Conservative Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson lent his crucial support to the bill only after winning the provision for his constituents.

“The people of Arkansas didn’t send me to Washington to be a horse trader,” Lincoln told reporters before speaking at a Kiwanis Club luncheon in downtown Little Rock.

Lincoln did not say whether she would support a final version of the health care legislation if it included the Nebraska agreement. Lincoln, who voted for the health care legislation on Christmas Eve, faces a tough re-election battle this year and has faced criticism from Republicans over her support for the bill.

We’ll see what happens, whether it comes out or not. I think it’s appropriate that it should,” Lincoln said.

Is that … a threat to vote no? That’d be an uncharacteristically shrewd move on Lincoln’s part, if so. Instead of being the disloyal Democrat who panicked at crumbling public support for the bill, she could torpedo it, save her own skin in the process, and frame herself as the crusader for good government whose conscience simply won’t permit her to endorse such bribe-taking. The left won’t even hassle her much over it since they hate the bill too. In fact, not only does she have political cover, she has some legal cover as well: Just as I’m writing this, I got a tip that Oklahoma’s Democratic state attorney general is joining the 13 Republican state AGs who want Nelson’s kickback investigated. This is your escape hatch, Blanche!

Exit question: To see how just poisonous this travesty has become, see if you can guess which DeMint-ian Republican hardliner said this.

While I enthusiastically support health care reform, it is not reform to push more costs onto states that are already struggling while other states get sweetheart deals.

Health care reform, which started as noble and needed legislation, has become a trough of bribes, deals and loopholes.

You’ve heard of the bridge to nowhere. This is health care to nowhere.

[Our] congressional delegation should either vote against this bill that is a disaster for [our state] or get in there and fight for the same sweetheart deal Senator Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker State. He got the corn; we got the husk.

Answer: Dude?