The state of play with the estate tax break seems to be as follows: it passed the Senate 51-48, with nine Democrats joining the Republicans -- Bayh, Baucus, Cantwell, Landrieu, Lincoln, Murray, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, and Tester -- and taking the pro-deficit position. Fortunately, it's pretty sure to get stripped out in conference committee, since Kent Conrad and the House negotiators are against it.
How should I regard the Democrats who do this kind of thing? I'm assuming that it doesn't make it into the final bill. If they've found a way to score some campaign contributions from plutocrat Frank Blethen or defend themselves from him without generating any bad policy consequences, good for them and I won't criticize. On the other hand, he's doing a pretty bad job as a plutocratic villain if he's letting himself get scammed by Senators who vote for his legislation and then run off giggling with fistfuls of his money while it gets killed in conference committee. So is he getting what he's paying for? If so, what is it, and how mad should I be at his nine servants?