Monday, March 15, 2010

Rep. Blue Dog, With The Candlestick, In Arkansas

The most straightforward answer to TPM's question -- Who Killed The Public Option? -- seems to be "the marginal post-Stupak-defection Democratic centrist in the House".

Why is the leadership not pushing for it, when they could pass it a few months ago? Because they lost the most hard-core members of the Stupak bloc, and they have to make up for it with nervous Blue Dogs who don't want to do anything that might sound remotely progressive.

I guess it's conceivable that the perfect effort could get the votes together for it. But in keeping with the Jonathan Bernstein analysis, it would make it harder for us to find enough cooperators to get out of our current prisoner's dilemma, increasing the risk of total failure. I think the risk/reward looks a lot better on the current strategy, especially when you think about the possibility of adding on the public option in years to come.


corvus said...

That's my take, too. I have to say, I am a little disappointed in Pelosi for trying to shift blame for this to the Senate, when it is obvious that the problem is in her caucus.

ikl said...

Um, yeah. Surprising how hard it is for some people to get the picture. I'm not sure that there are really 50 votes in the Senate for a public option either, but that is really beside the point now.

In fairness, some Dems in the House confuse things by pretending that the real stumbling block is that the Senate bill isn't progressive enough. At this point that is just blowing smoke.

janinsanfran said...

Why not adopt the explanation that better fits the whole tortuous story? The White House promised various players (insurance, hospitals) that it would not fight for the PO -- then let nature and Democratic centrists take their course.

From the point of view of holding the base, it would have been better never to have raised the chimera of a measure they wouldn't fight for.

corvus said...

jan, I disagree. It's always a good idea, from a bargaining perspective to have something you seem to really want that you can give up. if the public option was just that, well, I am ultimately fine with that. Sure, I kind of got jerked around on it, going out of my way to root for it and support it, but if my getting jerked around was a necessary part of getting 30 million Americans access to health insurance, well, then I am happy to be toyed with. As a progressive, it is practically my patriotic duty to get jerked around, in the service of the greater good. As long as the greater good gets served, I am fine with that.