The Perils of Weak Leadership

If Harry Reid were a strong leader, breaking Republican filibusters with his 60 vote caucus would be fairly simple. But that's just not the case. So instead, strong policy hangs in the balance -- namely the public option in the Senate. Nate Silver makes a good point about yesterday's trigger fiasco that didn't occur to me:

[The White House] may not be worried about 61 versus 60 so much as 61 versus 58.

So had that "trigger/Snowe" rumor been precise, it's likely that the White House may have been frantic to simply get 60 votes to break the inevitable filibuster. At least as of yesterday, two Democrats (Bayh, Nelson and maybe also Landrieu) were still leaning towards filibustering with the Republicans -- which would be a major slap in the face to the president, not to mention the rest of us. Therefore, Snowe would be mandatory to break the filibuster and that's where the trigger might've re-emerged as a possibility.

And this is Reid's fault. Again, his entire job as majority leader is to hold the caucus together. Time and time again, Reid has failed the cloture test. And so good policy is sacrificed for Reid's weakness.

Adding... Make no mistake, the holdout Senate Dems who haven't committed to cloture are absolutely conducting a "secret" filibuster against the party and against healthcare reform.

(There's a joke in the first sentence of this post, but I chose to steam right past it. Sorry.)