Monday, August 10, 2009

Public Option Going The Way Of The Electric Car

CNN's strength has always been graphic design, not political reporting, so I'm hesitant to give this latest story too much weight. It is about the Democrats caving to the Right on health care though, so it might be accurate. My thoughts on this subject, namely, how much (read: little) faith we should have in the Democrats to provide the public with substantial reform of the health care industry, can be read here.

As I said, CNN's strength has never been reporting the news, and this body of text is no exception. It contains a proofreading error so embarrassing that one almost blushes at reading it. Come on CNN!

"Both [Democratic Senator Dick] Durbin and Republican Sen. John Cornyn signaled the precarious status of any “public option” in the final version of any health care legislation, with Cornyn calling the idea a deal-breaker [sic] Durbin repeating a reluctant willingness to sacrifice the idea to assure passage of a final bill. The idea is not considered likely to be included in the final Senate version of the bill, although a modified public option remains in the House version of the legislation." [emphasis added]

As near as I can tell, the sentence should read, ", with Durbin..." Even that is kind of a gross construction. Also, the word "modified" in the above passage should be read as "weakened." Now, back to the content, not the delivery.

Despite overwhelming, OVERWHELMING support for a public option, many Democrats refuse to state, unequivocally, that it will be included in the final bill. Obama, rightly, has stated that he won't sign a bill that doesn't include a public option. That is a difficult move to make and it should be praised. Now more Democrats need to get on board with that. Sadly, that's something that Representative Henry Waxman (who, in fairness, is pretty badass about a lot of things, and has previously stated his support of a single-payer system) refused to do last week on Democracy Now:

"AMY GOODMAN: Public plan, the bottom line for you, that there is a public option?
REP. HENRY WAXMAN: I want a—I want a public option.
AMY GOODMAN: Will you not accept—like the progressive Democrats have written a letter saying they will not vote for anything but a public option.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN: I don’t like drawing lines, but I expect we’re going to have a public option." [emphasis added.]

What the Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that the public WANTS them to draw lines. That's why in both 2006 and 2008 the country handed them substantial electoral victories, and it's why 2010 is shaping up to be the same way. Democrats are secure in their seats specifically, and in their control of congress and the White House generally, yet they still refuse to make and to commit to strict demands, like a public option, that are favored by the population.

Again, we won't know for several weeks what this bill will actually look like once it comes out of the House and Senate joint committee, but the prospects for progressive reform look more and more dim with each passing day.


Ed Murray said...

We really need to start supporting a viable third party so we have a second option...

Or an all-out political enema...that might work too.

The Leez said...

When I was little, I learned to draw the lines first, otherwise the coloring would go all over the place.

Draw lines! Or your picture is going to look a lot like a riot.