Republican Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) said something on Fox News, which, surprisingly, I completely agree with (not a sentence I expected to write this morning):
"I don't think very many people believe that if you have one Republican out of 100, that therefore, it's a bipartisan bill," Kyl told Fox News. "I don't know what Sen. Snowe will do, but I know right now that she's very concerned about the cost of the bill and the fact that the Congressional Budget Office is not able to provide us with an accurate cost of what the bill is."
I'm with Sen. Kyl--having the vote of one Republican does not make a bill bipartisan. No regular Americans thinks, “Well, I will probably like this bill because it did get the vote of one whole Republican. It must be a super awesome bipartisan bill.” The idea that there are millions of Americans who want a health care bill, but only if it has the vote of at least one Republican senator, is absurd.
Snowe also gives Reid some cover with his liberals, in that he can push the blame for all of the controversial changes he will have to make onto the perils of bipartisanship.
It sounds like the plan is to push through a bad bill and act like the mean old Olympia Snowe made them all adopt the unpopular and destructive policies. This is the height of cowardice. The Democrats have a super majority (60 votes) in the Senate, and also the option to use reconciliation to pass a bill with only a simple majority. Snowe doesn't actually have the power to force the Democrats do anything.
If some group of Democratic senators are against extending quality affprdable health care to more Americans, if they support letting the insurance companies continue ripping off the American people, let them publicly stand up against reform. If this round of health care reform sucks, it will be 100% the fault of the Democratic Party. Snowe has no real power and no one outside the beltway really cares how she votes.