President Snowe's Endgame: BaucusCare + Trigger
Say what you want about President Olympia Snowe and her Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, they played a shrewd card today when Snowe voted yes for BaucusCare in the Senate Finance Committee. What is Snowe's thinking here? Here's my view.
Snowe saw that BaucusCare was fast becoming irrelevant and would have been completely irrelevant without her vote. She did not want to offer her trigger amendment now because she is saving that "concession" for the endgame. And she wants the final bargaining to begin with BaucusCare. She did what she had to do today to make BaucusCare the blueprint.
Senators Rockefeller and Wyden (or Schumer) misplayed their hands today by announcing they will vote Yes for BaucusCare. If two of them had voted No (Wyden does not really care about the public option and Schumer is in the leadership so I think I give them a bit of a pass on the political bargaining question), then BaucusCare would have been seen as a nonstarter from the Progressive side. This is important not only in the Senate but in the House, where the Progressive Block needs all the help it can get.
Snowe's shrewd play need not be a big deal in the endgame, but it could very likely be one. It all depends on how progressives in the Senate play it. So far, not good.
Speaking for me only
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