So. Here's where things stand at the present moment: we've got a flurry of wheels and deals going on behind the scenes, while, oddly, Lieberman's chosen to sit in a corner and pout. Meanwhile, the Team o' Ten (not to be confused with the Gang o' Six) is busy hashing out a deal that wouldn't include the public option, but would give liberals quite a bit in return for the sacrifice. Some of it - Medicare buy-in, Medicaid expansion, OPM Plan - doesn't sound too terribly horrible, especially not since some of the reform provisions would kick in a lot more quickly than the public option. Howard Dean likes the Medicare buy-in idea. Lieberman's maybe possibly okay with it. But Queen Snowe has put her foot down.
This means that health care reform in the Senate may rest in Ben Nelson's incapable hands. Yes, that's right. Mr. "I'll filibuster if I don't get to deny women abortion coverage!" A man so stupid he has no idea how war bonds work. A man who is the apple of Orrin Hatch's eye because he's played so easily into Con hands. And now, with his abortion amendment shot down like a rabid dog, he shall have to make a decision: how stupid does he really feel like being?
The good news is, he's now leaving himself some wiggle-room on the whole "my abortion language or I filibuster!" thing. I wonder if it's the shock - he seems just arrogant enough to believe he could get his obnoxious way by stamping his little feet. Alas for him, foot-stamping only worked on the public option because he wasn't stamping alone.
Meanwhile, Barbara Boxer uses Viagra to illustrate a point. Ben? Do you rely on Viagra? Better listen up, boy.
And, lest you think most landmines have been tripped, keep an eye on pay-to-delay.
House liberals, by the way, aren't interested in all these Senate compromises. And Nadler thinks it wouldn't have come to this is Harry Reid had just showed some actual leadership. He's got a point, you know. This probably means they won't be playing Ping-Pong with the Senate, although the idea's an intriguing one. That's certainly one way to do an end-run around the Cons.
And speaking of Cons, just when you didn't think they could get any more ridiculous, here comes Gohmert saying he wants to rid us of all insurance. Public, private, Medicaid, Medicare - all of it. But gods forbid we replace it with, oh, say, universal health care. No, he's got some bizarre idea that with insurance done away with, everybody will magically be able to afford paying their astronomical health care bills all by their lonesomes.
I have no idea how these people function. I really don't.
Finally, here's some news that may end up changing some equations. If not this year, than certainly in the future. Remember when the Ents marched to war? That ain't nothing compared to the March of the Nurses.