That's why this report (via FireDogLake) leaves me unimpressed. Apparently Max Baucus is now claiming that he honestly LOVES the idea of a public option! Seriously, guys, he really does. He's only been trying to kill any type of substantial reform for the past 8 months, but that's never been his intention! OOOOOO, he wants the public option so bad!
The press release from the Coalition of Montana Democratic Central Committees reads:
"U.S. Senator Max Baucus has finally broken his silence regarding his personal position on including a public option in health care reform legislation. Last Monday night (8/17), in an unprecedented conference call to Montana Democratic central committee chairs, the powerful leader of the Senate Finance Committee told his strongest supporters that he supported a public option.
While discussing the obstacles to getting a public option through the Senate, he assured his forty listeners, "I want a public option too!""[emphasis added.]
Hey, Baucus, way to go. He's got his finger on the pulse, doesn't he? In politics, like in comedy, timing is everything. And to extend the comedy metaphor, Baucus waited about four months between saying, "Take my wife," and "please." Kind of kills the desired effect, Maxy.
Should progressives take this as a good sign? Maybe, but it seems much more likely that Baucus is desperately trying to protect his left flank than he is trying to take on the insurance companies. In fact, imagining Baucus "taking on the insurance companies" is like imagining the military going to war with Lockheed Martin. It is fundamentally impossible to wrap one's head around that possibility.
In theory, I suppose, Baucus might be forced to fight for a public option if there is a large enough outcry from his constituents. More than anything else, the vast majority of Congress-people want simply to get re-elected. That's why they take so much money from lobbyists and special interests. It's not that they're inherently evil (though a strong case could be made that many are), it's that they want to keep their job. Maddeningly, the way that this is accomplished all too often is by pleasing companies who can finance re-election campaigns, not by pleasing the citizens who elected them in the first place.
It remains to be seen whether or not Max the whore will fight for a public option, but we can know for certain that he doesn't actually want one. He's had every, EVERY, fucking opportunity in the world to fight for it over the past several months, and he has done nothing but push policies that are favored by the interests who own him. If he does turn his back on his owners, like a beaten dog who has finally had enough, then it will be as surprising as it will be praise-worthy.
Sadly, there is no reason to expect that to happen, so don't get out your doggy treats just yet.