Coburn's amendment got killed because he forced a vote; he got punished. Apparently the same amendment passed -- but attached to something that probably won't pass.
Norquist is still part of the story:
"Norquist’s group said that it wouldn’t consider a vote for the ethanol proposal a violation of the pledge provided that lawmakers also support a proposal by Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, that would eliminate the ethanol usage mandate and the estate tax."
I'm sure there are some Republicans out there thinking that in conjunction with the AARP article in the WSJ, this means "WE ARE WINNING! YAY!".
Well, before they get too cocky, they might want to read what the AARP has said in response to the wave of response to the WSJ article:
This would indicate that the White House and the AARP are staking out very compatible ground:
(1) You don't get to cut benefits to current or near term beneficiaries
(2) You don't get to completely change the nature of the program (either through big cuts or privatizing).
(3) You can't fix other deficit issues with income to Social Security or use them as an excuse to cut Social Security.
(4) Blanket refusal to discuss revenue adjustments is unhelpful.
I'm sure there will be continued efforts to confuse people.