My AP English teacher used to quip that, in the third act of any Shakespeare tragedy, a king dies. Similarly, at the same point in the life of any Senate deliberation, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is known to emerge from her warren, see her shadow and declare: "Let's have six more weeks of wrangling as I burnish my well-worn reputation for being reasonable -- why not?"
We've apparently reached that point in the debate over financial regulatory reform. My guy from Paulson tells me to bet long on Snowe this time, but I don't know... he smells vaguely of brimstone.
"I'm optimistic that maybe the Democrats won't go forward with the bill as it is," Snowe told reporters outside her office. "Over the next few days, hopefully, something will change to make that possible. I don't see why it would be impossible because frankly I think that there isn't that much of a gap."
Would such an agreement be possible within the week, to keep within the Democrats' preferred timeframe?
"I think it certainly could be, absolutely," Snowe said. "I'm always willing to be the only Republican if it's the right thing, and it's important to do the right thing on this."
TPM's Josh Marshall evaluates the situation thusly: "Aren't we about in the Third Act where Snowe comes in and jerks the Dems around for a few weeks before getting upset about the process and joining the filibuster?" Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to say, "SPOILER ALERT?"