It had little chance with or without the results in NY-26. The usual suspects - Snow, Collins, Brown - all announced they were going to vote against it anyway.
Joining those three in opposition was Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul - the latter believing Ryan's budget didn't go far enough in cutting spending. The measure failed 57-40:
Republican senators complained at a Tuesday lunch meeting about the political trap they said Democrats set for them.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his rank-and-file members that they were free to vote their conscience and warned them the vote would have negative political ramifications in some instances, according to GOP sources.
He advised his colleagues to prepare to explain their votes, whether yay or nay, when they return home and meet with constituents.
The uneasy feeling in the Senate Republican Caucus grew sharper on Wednesday after Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset victory in the special election in New York's 26th district, a heavily Republican district. Hochul, a long-shot candidate, captured the seat formally held by Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) by pounding on Ryan's Medicare reforms.
Some Republican senators said it was a mistake for Ryan to roll controversial Medicare reforms into a broader budget package.
What now? Democrats don't have a plan and don't have any reason to offer one. Ryan himself believes entitlement reform is dead:
Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.
"My guess is it's going to sink into paralysis is what's going to happen. And you know the math. It's just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving," Ryan said.
Politicians are skitterish creatures and the way Democrats are successfully demogoguing Ryan's proposals means that it may not be until 2013 until we get any action on Medicare.