Monday, October 5, 2009

Make Them Talk

Reading this latest report from The Hill, one might think that the health care bill that ends up coming out of the Senate will include a public option. I remain skeptical, to say the least. As I wrote here, we might see the Senate include something called a public option, but as far as a robust, government run insurance plan goes, that still seems like a bridge too far for the rotten Senate to cross.

The conventional wisdom states that the Senate Democrats don't have enough votes to overturn a Republican filibuster, even though they have 60 votes, which is what it takes to overturn a filibuster. But they still can't do it, for fear of being correctly identified by the media as liberals. This phenomenon is called: We Need Better Democrats.

But here's the thing. Which Senate Repub will actually filibuster? Has any one of them actually promised that? I think it's just taken as a given that they'll be dicks, which is true, but still, which ones specifically will be dicks? As Atrios tweeted on Sept. 18th, "wonder whatever happened to phrase "up or down vote" media used to love that one."

Remember when the Dems were the minority party, and the question was whether or not they had the balls to be dicks and filibuster? It was never, ever, EVER taken as a given that the Dems had a backbone. If they threatened to filibuster, the Repubs accused them of Communism for denying an up or down vote to whatever-the-fuck was going on. Liberals would've killed for an assumed Dem-lead auto-filibuster.

Make some awful Republican talk and talk and talk, and then accuse them of being obstructionist when YOU, the Democratic Party, is trying to provide, oh, I don't know, affordable, universal health care to the goddamn public. How can Senate leadership not understand that that's a winning script? But, as we've seen, the Dems just give the GOP the auto-filibuster, and it puts THEM, the party with a super majority, on the defensive again, somehow. It's really quite amazing.

The only explanations for this blistering message failure on the part of Senate leadership is either incompetence or malice. I've been saying that a lot lately, I know, but it's true. If the Democrats can't, or won't, make the GOP play by their own vicious rules, when they--the Dems--have a winning issue on their hands, there's no hope for progress in this country. And yes, the public option is a winning issue.

From Kevin Drum, (via Yglesias):

If Democrats really do lose the House next year (about which more later), this will be why. If they don’t pass a healthcare bill at all, they’ll be viewed as terminally lame. If they pass a bill, but it doesn’t contain popular features that people want — like the public option — they’ll be viewed as terminally lame.

And here's a pretty picture that will convince you the Democrats are The Impotents because literally everyone who isn't a comically rich asshole or a moran(!) who's afraid of the ghost of Stalin wants a public option.

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