Reverse engineering intelligence gathered from the Democrat blog sites, informed by the report of a delightfully frantic phone call by Ted Kennedy to the so-called netroots with regard whom among his colleagues he doubts, the Alito filibuster fight centers around eleven Doubtful Democrats.
The Doubtful Democrats are Pryor and Lincoln of Arkansas, Cantwell and Murray of Washington, Baucus of Montana, Dorgan and Conrad of North Dakota, Bayh of Indiana, Lautenberg and Menendez of New Jersey, Lieberman of Connecticut.
Breaking this eleven down, there are six in red states and seven in blue states.
As of this moment, Nelson of Red Nebraska and Byrd of Red West Virginia and Johnson of Red South Dakota are pledged to vote with the GOP for cloture. (Add to this the most likely and all but announced, determined, certain cloture votes of Democrats Dorgan and Conrad of Red North Dakota. )
The summary is that at this moment there are now five reliable Red State Democrats to join fifty-five Republicans for cloture.
The summary also is that Team Cloture cannot lose any of the fifty-five GOP senators unless some other of the doubtful Dems defect.
The summary also is that these are most tight numbers, and that when Ted Kennedy told the Dem callers to concentrate on Republicans Snowe of Blue Maine and Chafee of Blue Rhode Island, he knew where the seam is in the Frist managed cloture vote.
This is not a done deal. Repeat, not done. It is a likely GOP win, but it is not an easy win; and Bill Frist will not be comforted until he hears from some three or four of the Doubtful Democrats that they support cloture.