|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
This is what the Democratic Party does; it's who they are. They're willing to feign support for anything their voters want just as long as there's no chance that they can pass it. They won control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections by pretending they wanted to compel an end to the Iraq War and Bush surveillance and interrogation abuses because they knew they would not actually do so; and indeed, once they were given the majority, the Democratic-controlled Congress continued to fund the war without conditions, to legalize Bush's eavesdropping program, and to do nothing to stop Bush's habeas and interrogation abuses ("Gosh, what can we do? We just don't have 60 votes).
The primary tactic in this game is Villain Rotation. They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.
This is why, although I basically agree with filibuster reform advocates, I am extremely skeptical that it would change much, because Democrats would then just concoct ways to lack 50 votes rather than 60 votes -- just like they did here. Ezra Klein, who is generally quite supportive of the White House perspective, reported last week on something rather amazing: Democratic Senators found themselves in a bind, because they pretended all year to vigorously support the public option but had the 60-vote excuse for not enacting it. But now that Democrats will likely use the 50-vote reconciliation process, how could they (and the White House) possibly justify not including the public option? So what did they do? They pretended in public to "demand" that the public option be included via reconciliation with a letter that many of them signed (and thus placate their base: see, we really are for it!), while conspiring in private with the White House (which expressed "sharp resistance" to the public option) to make sure it wouldn't really happen.