Matheson’s the guy whose brother was nominated to the federal bench on the very day he met with The One about health care. He was a no before … and he’s a no now. Space was yes before, but suddenly he’s a no too — and a hard no judging by his statement, i.e. not one liable to flip back tomorrow. All of which is perfectly dull and predictable if you assume that Pelosi has already made it to 216 and beyond and is simply looking to cut loose a few red-district Democrats to vote no at the eleventh hour.
We’re told that this wasn’t a surprise to Speaker Pelosi but that she didn’t release him to vote no either, as sometimes happens late in the game when the leadership knows it has enough votes and can spare some to protect vulnerable incumbents.
I don’t know how else to read that except as an admission that she doesn’t have the votes. I’m shocked to be saying it, but if TPM is right, this really isn’t over. Yet.
The Firedoglake whip count had it at 204-206 earlier this afternoon with 21 undecided, including Matheson and 10 members of Stupak’s bloc. Matheson’s no makes it 204-207 but some Stupakers have been peeling away, so assume they split evenly and you’re at 209-212 with 10 on the fence to decide it. Stupak himself claimed a few hours ago that Pelosi was still four votes short, but as I’m writing this, there are rumors that Glenn Nye and Kurt Schrader are both voting yes. Nye was expected to, but Schrader was a potential yes-to-no flip.
Dude, I’m nervous.
Update: Actually, it’s possible that Space made his intentions known to Pelosi ages ago and she wrote him off as not worth pursuing. That would allow for a scenario where she has the votes but never formally releases Space. But if that’s what happened here, why did Space wait to the last minute to announce his no? If it was set in stone last week, no reason to keep quiet.
Update: NRO says this “still isn’t nailed down,” but it sounds like the final stumbling block may be some sort of executive order about abortion to bring the Stupakers on board. And the pro-choicers are apparently okay with it. Gulp.
Update: Hold the phone — sounds like Nye isn’t a yes (yet) after all.