I share your frustration, but the legislative battle is by no means lost. As former Senator Rick Santorum points out, the vote to move forward with debate was inevitable. No majority party is ever going to deny their leader the chance to debate his very own bill. I agree with Santorum: Conservatives put way too much emphasis on this one vote, thus demoralizing our troops when debate was allowed.
However, just because members vote to allow debate does not mean they will vote to close it. In this case, four members of Reid's own party are on record saying they will not vote for cloture on the current Senate bill and Lieberman has said "no way" will he allow a public option. Meanwhile, liberal Dems are saying they will scuttle the bill if it doesn't have one. To make matters worse, Ben nelson has said "no" to any bill that allows abortion funding while many of his lefty colleagues have said "no" if it doesn't. Thus, Reid has a real mess on his hands.
Personally, I think Lieberman is the key. If he is telling us the truth that a public option in any form is unacceptable, the current bill is dead. Nelson might be swayed into going along with a Capp's style amendment (which, unlike the Stupak language, does NOT foreclose on abortion funding, but pretends to), but that still leaves Reid with the Lieberman problem on his right, and the fanatical lib problem on his left.
But let's suppose the bill does get out of the Senate. You still have 19 Dem House members on record saying they will vote against it if the Stupak language is removed. That's precisely why Pelosi had to allow it in the first place.
In short, this thing is not over. Surrender is not an option. Please pass the word along.
PS--Doug's blog is stellar, so please check it for updates.