Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who in 2007 voted to invoke cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), came out yesterday and said his vote will be “no” this time around. That leaves the Democrats–Labor’s mouthpiece and sometime lackey–with 58 (59 if and when Al Franken arrives) votes to end a sure Republican filibuster. Unfortunately, 60 votes are required.

There’s another way to get it passed through the Senate through a process called reconciliation, which is generally reserved for budget matters. Reconciliation chokes off the filibuster option.

However, using that for such a controversial piece of legislation would be the equivalent of nuclear war–it could be enough to cost the Democrats dearly in the next election.

This leaves the Costco-Starbuck’s-Whole Foods compromise looking more and more like what will finally emerge–so long as sane minds prevail and the House and Senate act (for once) like adults.