Without Lieberman's support, the public plan will lack the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. It seems impossible that Reid could have made the announcement without realizing Lieberman's position. Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, argues that Reid's dramatic announcement regarding the public plan probably represents his effort to appease liberal backers, including labor unions and leftists:
You put on a good show for certain elements of the electorate and say with all candor that you tried your hardest and you got it debated, but it’s very difficult to corral 60 senators. . . .That will satisfy most people.
This theory sounds immensely plausible.