If Democratic leadership hoped Republican Olympia Snowe’s decision to cross party lines Tuesday would inspire her fellow middle-of-the-roaders, they were mistaken…
Moderate Democrats did draw plenty of inspiration from Snowe – but instead of using her “yes” vote as a reason to embrace health care reform, fence-sitters hailed the caveats in her public statement Tuesday as a rationale for withholding their own judgment.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said his colleague from Maine wasn’t “forecasting what her future votes might be” when she cast the lone Republican vote for the Finance bill…
In this environment, few uncommitted Democrats were willing to make any new commitments on Wednesday. And no one thought Snowe’s vote would break the logjam.
“It didn’t change anything for me,” Pryor said.
This is as much of a no-brainer as Snowe’s own yes vote. Why would the Blue Dogs say yes or no now when there’s still so much negotiation to come? Committing this soon only decreases your influence over the final product; so long as The One’s nervous about losing 60 and committed to keeping everyone happy, Nelson and Pryor can more or less set their terms. In fact, to the extent that Snowe’s vote lays down a marker about how far left the bill can go before it becomes too far left, it’s actually a help to the GOP. Politico’s already warning about a Democratic civil war if House progressives decide that Baucus’s plan isn’t nearly socialist enough for their tastes. If Reid buckles and includes a public option, Snowe walks away, the Blue Dogs are denied their political cover, and all hell breaks loose between the centrists and the left. Like her or not, given the electoral realities in the Senate, yesterday’s yes vote isn’t the worst thing that could have happened to fiscal conservatives. Quoth Karl: Snowementum!
Update: Forgot to say: If you hate ObamaCare and can spare the cash, send five bucks each to Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie. Who governs Virginia and New Jersey is of little concern to most of us, but watching the GOP sweep two blue states ahead of the midterms will send the Blue Dogs to a “Paranormal Activity”-esque level of terror. If Mc and C win, you get a more conservative health-care bill — and maybe even no bill at all. Simple as that.