Okay, so the Gang of Dicks, Presidents Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, won't support the Medicare Buy-In or the public option, and Nelson wants Stupak language in there, too.
So unless I'm very mistaken, there are only three options left here, and only one option that will give us a bill that has some of the things we like.
1) A reconciliation vote on a bill with a public option and the Medicare Buy-In, plus no Stupak language. This is tremendously risky, but it could be the only path around the Gang of Dicks, and the only way any sort of decent bill will pass.
2) Pass a bill that Lieberman or Snowe will vote for which means no Medicare and a no public option. Of course this won't pass without Roland Burris, Russ Feingold and others. And it surely won't make it through the House.
3) Don't pass a bill. Not an option. Without a bill, it's another 20 years of the status quo, or until we have another perfect storm of a Democratic president with a mandate along with a Democratic Congress with a 60+ seat majority. That ship will have sailed by this time next year.
Harry Reid is a jellyfish, but the more I learn about him, the more I recognize that he knows procedure and he knows how to play the game. Here's to hoping he can whip up a reconciliation majority on a bill without ripping it to shit.
Adding... Ezra Klein:
Lieberman was invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill's failure that much more. And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.
And the most important factor that's convincing me that reconciliation is the only way forward:
Reid could also try and find another compromise, but it's not clear there are many of those left. And at this point, the underlying dynamic seems to be that Lieberman will destroy any compromise the left likes.