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The Public-Option Rebellion

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture

The figures turn the MA election upside down: MA was not a victory for the GOP, not at all. In fact, it was the exact opposite. It wasn't a win for Brown; it wasn't a loss for Coakley.

It was a chest-pounding triumph for liberals: the Public-Option Rebellion.

From RJ Eskow:

Here are the first results from after-vote polling in Massachusetts: By a 3 to 2 margin, Obama voters who voted for Brown thought that Obama's reform bill "doesn't go far enough." And those Obama voters who didn't bother [sic] voting felt that way by a 6 to 1 margin. 82% of Obama voters who went for Brown (and 86% of those who stayed home) support a public option. And 57% of Brown voters said that Obama is "not delivering enough" on change.

This rebellion of deliberate dissent, little though some people called Rahm wish to admit it, was meant to send a Certified Shock 'N Awe Wake-Up Call to timid centrist Dems in Washington. But it's ironic -- and sad -- that talented, passionate progressive Dem Martha Coakley (longtime public option advocate) wound up being sacrificed as collateral damage in the Public Option Rebellion.

File under "C'est la f*cking Guerre"?

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"Public option" is a big nothingburger. See 20,000 posts written at Corrente and in the last year.

Pollsters have fallen into and fed the confusion. When they've asked people if they want "single payer," they say they want it. When they've asked people if they want "public option," they say they want it. Unfortunately the "progressive" establishment and crypto-establishment have made that confusion between the two (and in favor of "public option") job #1 since historically historic hope came to the White House.

For the love of all that's good policy, please let's please not feed that beast!

I would suggest "Healthcare Reform Rebellion" as an alternative that lets sleeping zombies lie.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

besides. it's preposterous to claim public option (cause) -> Scott Brown (effect), although that's what the various fund-raisers, MoveOn/DFA/PCCC are attempting.

Unless Scott Brown has a secret stash of frim-fram sauce, of course.

Submitted by lambert on

... done by DFA, of all people, putatively shows this, is in fact no evidence of its truth, but typical of the intellectual dishonesty of public option advocates, who rushed to use Coakley's defeat as a way of pumping fresh blood into their own policy zombie. They did exactly the same on national polls.

A little more critical thinking, please. Coakley advocates will do themselves no good buying into "progressive" talking points.

Andre's picture
Submitted by Andre on

that Brown got the same number of votes that McCain got in 2008. And Coakley got 800,000 less votes than the O man got in that year. To me that says that the liberals in this state (MA) have sent a clear message to the O man: 'get your head out of your ass, we do not appreciate your corporatist crap'! Deval Patrick ought to listen to that message real carefully. It was a clear liberal victory in that we sent a message to someone we voted to be liberal. And in my mind, it says there are 800,000 liberals in this state who are willing to send that message. There are many more liberals here than that number, since some (like me) voted for Coakley. Brown serves at out discretion, and no matter how bad Coakley was, she would have won if we decided that way. She did fine IMO, though she could have done better. One other point is that thsi election proves the politicaL viability of abstention from voting.

Coakley is running for reelection to AG, and she'll get it because we are liberals and we feel bad about what we did to her. She's a good person who would make a fine senator. And she should run against Brown in 2012, but remember that all politics is local. Now who said that famous line?????

Submitted by Anne on

when it seemed that that catchphrase was all people really knew about it, I used to explain to people that the way it was being designed, it was a perversion of the term "public." Imagine, I would tell them, if "public" transportation became not a choice that everyone had, but one that only a few people had. That if you had a car or a motorcycle, or maybe even a bicycle, you would not be permitted to use that "public" transportation. So, even if it was way cheaper than the cost of gas and maintenance, and you wanted to reduce your effect on the environment, not only could you not use the "public" transportation, you wouldn't even be able to sell your car in order to use it.

I think it's important to make the words fit what is being described. The thing everyone was calling a Public Option would better be described as a Participation-Restricted, Privately-Administered Plan ("but, but - that sounds llike what we already have; what's the difference?" "Well, not a whole lot, and here's why...")- because that's what it actually is. A Medicare For All-type program would better be described as an Open-Participation, Government-Facilitated Plan ("but, I don't want the government making health care decisions for me!" "It wouldn't be - all the government would be doing is processing paperwork - which would be the same for everyone no matter where they lived - and payments to providers; you and your doctor would be making the care-related decisions.") .

That's too wordy, I know; it doesn't have the simplicity of "public option," but if those who are determined to pervert the rhetoric for their own interests refuse to be honest, we have no choice but to find better language to counter them. Maybe in some ways, the use of terminology that causes people to say, "Huh? What's that mean?" provides more opportunities to inform and educate than allowing a bumper-sticker term to perpetuate the BS.

We need to find ways to get people to think, instead of facilitating PR campaigns designed to brainwash people.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... for audiences where "single payer" is too wonky.

The main advantage "public option" had was well-placed people willing to be truthy for it, and a vagueness that facilitated same.

Naturally, having the likes of Howard Dean misappropriating the Medicare banner didn't help....