A helpful data point for liberal legislators and progressive activists: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)--the Democrats' main vote counter in the Senate--says that the public option-plus-opt out clause was a pragmatic choice. Liberals wouldn't have supported anything less.
Durbin told Ryan Grim of Huffington Post
and a handful of other reporters that Reid may very well have chosen to put Olympia Snowe's trigger compromise in the bill "[i] we thought that just putting the trigger in meant that we'd end with 61 votes."
But they, apparently didn't. Some in the party made clear that they "felt that that just didn't go far enough moving toward a public option," said Durbin.
Undoubtedly progressives will see today's development as a validation of their intense activism--pressure that wasn't always appreciated by Democratic party elders.