IF SNOWE’S THE MOST REASONABLE ONE THEY’VE GOT…. For much of the fall, Democratic leaders treated Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) like one of the most important people on earth. She received more face-time with the president than most of his staff and cabinet. The hope was that Snowe, who seemed sincere about her willingness to support health care reform, could be persuaded.

In the end, she balked. Despite supporting a very similar bill in committee, Snowe not only opposed reform, but opposed letting the Senate even vote on the bill. Asked why, Snowe struggled to explain herself, saying only that the laborious, painstaking, nine-month process had moved “too fast.”

Now that the initiative is near death, Snowe is preparing to dance on the grave.

For months, Democrats, including President Obama, courted Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, hoping to win her vote for major health care legislation. And now that the legislation is stalled, following the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election on Tuesday, Ms. Snowe said she tried to warn Democrats, including Mr. Obama, that they were pushing too hard too fast. […]

Ms. Snowe said that it was up to Mr. Obama and legislative leaders to decide how to proceed, but that she did not see any way to move forward on the health care bill without starting over and putting together a smaller package that could win bipartisan backing.

“We just really have to peel back the layers of the onion here, so to speak, and go back to the drawing board and try to see what essentially could be a basis for consensus,” Ms. Snowe said.

You’ve got to be kidding me. “Back to the drawing board”? She already voted for a version of the Democratic health care bill. For months, Dems shaped the bill with her demands in mind. Snowe is effectively saying that she wants to scrap the bill that she’s already supported.

I suppose an apology is in order. Last year, there were times that I believed Snowe was serious about the reform process, and genuinely wanted to solve the problem. I was mistaken.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.