Make no mistake, the president has privately surrendered the public option to get a single Republican senator who will allow him to pretend this bill has bipartisan support. The weaker Democratic senators are using Snowe as their figurehead excuse to kill the public option, while they remain terrified to vote for it, because it offends their insurance company donors, and equally terrified to vote against it, because it offends the majority of their constituents, who support it.

Make no mistake, the president wanted to kill the public option from the beginning, to give it away, notwithstanding his rhetoric for it, to get Republicans to support the bill. I don’t know what is worse: that unlike LBJ fighting for Medicare the president would give away the most important provision for a fig leaf of Republican support, or the fact that the president is so focused on image and public relations that he will try to sell himself as getting a bipartisan bill, with only one Republican, a truth in advertising farce.

Make no mistake, healthcare reform has been gutted and stripped by lobbyists from every interest group making a fortune from the current system. Universal coverage is dead. A mandate for coverage is dead. The major reforms to lower healthcare costs are dead. Backroom deals rule the day. Healthcare consumers will pay the price. Premiums will skyrocket and industry profits will shoot to the moon under this so-called reform.

Get ready for a huge battle over the public option. If the majority of Congress that supports it will fight for it, and refuse to vote for a bill without it, the battle can still be won, though in spite of the president, not because of him, though he will try to claim credit for whatever happens.

As the gathering storm of Afghanistan comes closer, there is a gathering storm of Democrats who thought they had elected a Democratic president who would fight for transforming change, and a Democratic Senate with 60 votes who we learn are overruled by the real boss, one Republican senator, and a lot of special interest money.