Ben Nelson got some (most, enough?) of what he wanted so it appears all 60 Democrats are now on board for the disappointing, but a little better than nothing Senate version of the health care compromise. (note, I know this my unenthusiastic non-endorsement, as incredibly unimportant as it is, makes me some sort of corporate whore sell out to some insurance company interest, but oh, well)
It appears that the loathsome Ben Nelson got some additional abortion provisions that give states some authority on abortion restrictions, which probably means good things in pro-choice states and more fuck yous in the bible belt for women.
Booman, who while not exactly delighted with the bell is a lot more sanguine that I am -- and has had some fights with some people a lot more pissed than I am -- seems to think this is good news in conference because somehow progressives have more 'hand' in that process, but I think that's rather optimistic to say the least. Whatever comes out of conference can still be filibustered in the Senate (it just cannot be amended) so the final bill is going to be a lot closer to what is in the Senate than in the House.
Watching bits and pieces of the Senate press conference Tom Harkin called the bill a good foundation and no mansion but a something that can be built upon. I don't know about that, it's going to take some reconciliation votes down the line for that to happen and in the near term, who the hell thinks either the Obama Administration or the Democratic Leadership in Congress is going to try that? I don't.
To a certain extent we've been taken for granted, if not sold out, by our Democratic leadership, including the President. Although that seems both too strong and immature a phrase -- it sounds like powerless foot-stomping. The question is, how to hold them accountable, to press them, without enabling a Party in opposition who is truly beholden to the crazies to come anywhere closer to power?
CAVEAT I forgot, Lieberman is off on the sabbath (hell, he flew town and he's not back in DC soon with all the blizzardy weather) so who knows what he'll demand when he gets back. Probably a new real-live dinosaur (and not McCain this time).