According to Congressional Quarterly, the Senate Democrats will hold a special caucus tonight and then meet with the President at the White House tomorrow to discuss the current impasse on the health care bill.
What does all of this mean? Well, it suggests to me that we are arriving at the moment of truth when Senators will make a realistic appraisal of their ability to get 60 votes and find ways to either get a compromise or decide to go with reconciliation. I am certain President Obama will say that failure is not an option, but that is exactly what Joe Lieberman wants.
Will President Obama call Holy Joe out? Or will he look to cut a deal? Both?
From what I have read and heard, no one in the caucus trusts Lieberman's intentions. Liberals are unlikely to go along with a deal that cuts a public health care option out. Even if Obama wanted to cut a deal with Lieberman, I doubt it could get the support of liberals.
Obama might use Lieberman as a foil to re-sell the public option trigger and get Snowe back on board. This, to me, is the most likely scenario. Obama believes this bill is great even without public option (and in truth, he has a pretty good argument, but only public option will lock in the savings that is needed because of the competition factor).
Obama may also actually follow his rhetoric of the past few weeks and get tough with Joe. That would be welcome. In any event, I think these two meetings are pivotal for the party's near term future.