In the Senate, where 60 votes are needed, there can be no such shell games. All Democrats must report for duty for this bill to pass. So Sens. Lieberman, Bayh, Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Conrad, Dorgan, Tester, Baucus, Johnson and Hagan have a serious decision to make. They have no place to hide.
And should Harry Reid invoke the reconciliation option, he would face other defections from Democrats who realize that they, too, might one day be in the minority and need the filibuster to maintain their relevance in the future.
For now, all Democrats should compare the results in Virginia and New Jersey in 1993 and in 2009.
In Virginia, in both years, an incumbent Democrat sat in the state house but was not permitted to run again. In both years, the Republican won the governorship by identical 58 percent to 41 percent margins.
In New Jersey, in both years, the incumbent Democratic governor sought another term and lost. In 1993, by 49 percent to 48 percent and in 2009 by 49 percent to 45 percent.
If any Democratic congressman is naive enough to believe that a debacle in 2010 will not follow the forecasts of 2009 as surely as the deluge of 1994 followed the precursor of 1993, he doesn't deserve to be in Congress. And he won't be.