Who Needs Enthusiasm Anyway?
I had been sort of hoping that the Democrats were going to surprise me by recognizing that if they wanted to win this mid-term they would need to wage a battle of the bases and therefore had decided to actually push through a public option. (This was as opposed to putting the public option on the table knowing it would be defeated and haughtily demand again that we praise them for their efforts.)
Unfortunately, it appears that the White House, at least, doesn't believe they need to motivate their base by passing a good policy it really wants in order to win:
Speaking at the daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked again why the administration did not include the government-run insurance option in its final health care proposal in light of the fact that 23 Democratic senators signed a letter calling for its passage.
"We have seen obviously that though there are some that are supportive of this, there isn't enough political support in a majority to get this through," Gibbs responded. "The president... took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday."
So what in the hell are all these Senators doing saying they will vote for a public option? I suppose they know something the president doesn't know --- or that they are trying to pressure the president into doing something he doesn't want to do. (And, who knows? It might even work.)But judging by their past behavior, I'd have to guess that they are simply hoping to take credit for voting for something popular in their states ;with the full knowledge that it isn't going to pass, which is deeply cynical --- and stupid. You can't get away with that crap when you have 58 Senators with "D" after their names. In fact, it makes them look even weaker than they already look which is saying something.
Putting a public option through reconciliation would electrify the Democrats in this country. It would revive their hopes for Obama and go a long way toward easing this feeling of hopelessness and despair that anything can get done. The fall election ` But if they believe that the liberal base will enthusiastically turn out no matter how many times they raise their hopes and then disappoint them (particularly if it is cynically designed as a triangulation strategy to make the White House look more "centrist and moderate") then I guess this makes sense.
It sounds like a Loser Mentality to me, but what do I know?
*The Senate could do it anyway, of course. Obama would have to sign it. But I'm guessing that's a long shot.