So Bart Stupak (D-MI-01) not only opposes the abortion "compromise" that's allowed the Senate to get to 60 votes for passing it's version of the health care bill, but he's been working with the Senate Republicans to undermine that "compromise."
That sets up an interesting question. How many of the 64 Democrats who voted with Stupak the first time around were just out looking a freebie "conservative" vote, thinking it'd be killed in conference, are going to stick with him if he looks to block the Nelson deal? If Stupak holds 45 or so of his 64, he'd have the numbers to start dictating terms, and Stupak becomes the new Nelson.
And what will Nelson's response be? Ordinarily, you could expect a Senator whose deal was blown up (especially one who's been demanding no changes be made to it) to dig in and hold the line. But might Nelson's fall-back position be that there simply must be some abortion-blocking language in the final product, and if it has to be Stupak's, well, so be it?
In hindsight -- especially in hindsight -- allowing that House vote on Stupak appears to be an enormous mistake. I say in hindsight, even though it certainly showed every indication of creating gigantic problems in the future, because it was very simply never 100% knowable whether the bill could have gotten out of the House without allowing it.
But either way, Democrats who simply went along for the ride on that amendment, looking to burnish their "conservative" credentials but all the while secretly thinking it'd disappear in conference, have instead ended up emboldening Stupak to the point where allegedly he felt safe working with the Senate GOP on engineering a deal that endangers this bill all over again.
How many of them were there? No one can say for sure, but we may find out soon enough, if the Nelson language stays intact in whatever package is presented to the House for approval. My guess is that Stupak could lose about half of his 64, and that'd be enough to get the bill through. But don't expect many of them to own up to flip-flopping on abortion. They'll have the luxury instead of perhaps saying they're happier now with the absence of the public option from the bill -- unless, of course, they're pro-public option and anti-abortion.
But even then, it's not likely you'll have seen the last of the Stupak amendment. Stupak, I would guess, is now the new Hyde amendment, and that means you're likely to see it offered as the motion to recommit on appropriations bills (and maybe some others, depending on subject matter) for the foreseeable future.
If so, the repercussions of the late evening decision to allow that vote to go forward in the name of expediency may be with us for a very, very long time.