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Obama throws "progressives" under the bus on so-called "public option"

Knock me over with a feather! Of course, the stenographer is Ceci Connolly, but presumably the administration took that into account when preparing its script:

President Obama's team, preparing for an intense round of private negotiations on Capitol Hill, used public appearances to set the parameters for the negotiations.

Obama continues to support the concept of a government-sponsored insurance option, but "he is not demanding that it is in" the final legislation, Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House adviser, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "He thinks it's the best possible choice."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in two television appearances, noted that the public option could provide much-needed competition, but that "it's not the defining piece of health care."

Nor could it ever have been!

Since [a|the] [Federalist?] [robust|strong] public [health insurance?] [option|plan] has never been clearly defined in the first place, it could hardly be a "defining piece: of anything!

NOTE The "progressive blogs" seem oddly silent on this. Are they getting their stories straight over at some Capitol Hill town house? Waiting for the conference call from Rahm? Planning their acts of civil disobedience?* WTF?

NOTE * Would be a good thing, actually, even if it did steal yet another page from the single payer playbook.

UPDATE Meanwhile, here's an absolutely deathless quote from Axelrod. These guys seem to have completely lost their touch:

Asked whether Obama has been "tough enough" in his first year in office, Axelrod replied: "The president in his radio address took on the insurance industry, at least rhetorically, and he suggested that he might be willing to take away their antitrust exemption."

Ooooh! I'm askeeered!

UPDATE Jurassic Pork gets it:

Collective individual mandate - public option = Higher premiums in which the only competition will be among HMO's who will break their necks seeing who can jack up their rates the highest. See health care bill, Romney, Massachusetts.

How the White House can say that a public option is "not the defining piece of health care" is beyond the capacity of any thinking person to wrap their mind around. You would think the president's economic team of "the best and brightest" would've told him a long time ago about the basic economic law of supply and demand: The more you jack up demand, the higher the prices of goods and services. You don't need to be Nobel laureate Paul fucking Krugman to understand that. What's truly tragically disheartening is the fact that even though Barack Obama has reputedly read ten health care horror stories a day for the last several months (meaning countless hundreds of the worst ones have already been presented to him) haven't made enough of a dent for him to even seriously entertain a public option much less single payer coverage.

I just took a tour round the A list again; no posts on this story. I'm guessing that means that word has come down from On High that everything's going to be OK in reconciliation, and STFU or you'll Fuck up that process. Maybe The Phonebooth Theory will prove out after all! Who can know, except the oligarchs, of course...

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

single payer advocates are getting arrested and state legislators are preparing to pass historic legislation. All the while progressive bloggers continue to chase their public option tails.

the good thing is that if the final legislation lacks a meaningful public option it will no longer be possible to pretend.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Uh, I'm not sure JP does get it- and Lambert, why do you say he does? Is it the difference between "A public option" and "THE public option"? I dunno. Which "public option" is he referring to?

How the White House can say that a public option is "not the defining piece of health care" is beyond the capacity of any thinking person to wrap their mind around.

Latest, just up from Kip Sullivan:

“Public option” bait-and-switch campaign fools pollsters

The New York Times reported on Saturday, October 17, that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is warning his constituents that the “public option” is not going to be available to the great majority of Americans. No one who has actually read the Senate health committee’s “reform” bill or the House “reform” bill (HR 3200) disputes this. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the “option” will be available only to about 30 million people, or about one American in ten. As the Times put it (slightly inaccurately), the “option” in the Democrats’ legislation “would be out of bounds to the approximately 160 million people already covered through employers.”

Does the public understand this? According to Wyden, they don’t. Wyden says his constituents are shocked when they are told the “option” will not be available to the vast majority of Americans. When he began informing his constituents about this truth last summer, “They nearly fell out of the bleachers,” he said (“And the public option is….,” New York Times, October 17, 2009, A10).

Democrats and “option” advocates should pay attention to Wyden’s observation. Wyden is saying, in so many words, that “option” advocates, with help from the media and the blogosphere, have fooled the public into thinking everyone will be eligible to buy insurance from the “option,” and when the public finds out this isn’t true, they’re not going to be happy.

Submitted by lambert on

... feel is needed to declare a triumphal victory.

Yes, on JP and the detail -- he's assuming that the public option part of the equation is greater than 0 -- but I think he's got the political dynamic down.

* * *

I'm glad that Kip called bullshit on that. It's so fucking circular. Great! "Our side" gets to ask the fake questions now!