by Patrick Appel

Continetti stares into the sausage grinder:

Harry Reid has to appease [Ben] Nelson just as he did with Lieberman. What will Nelson's price be? In all likelihood, assurances that Offutt Air Force Base won't be closed, and that tax dollars won't be used to pay for abortions, will be necessary but not sufficient to gain Nelson's approval.

Reid gave Mary Landrieu hundreds of millions in Medicaid dollars to secure her vote to debate the health care bill. How much will he give Nelson to vote to end the debate?

This is how politics works.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.