Never ever will it happen, but the fact that Blue Dogs are even willing to entertain this notion aloud makes me think they might show some spine when the House and Senate produce a compromise bill and the moment of truth arrives.
At the first event of the day in Cross City, he held up a copy of the bill passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee and embraced by the congressional leadership.
“I cannot support this bill in the version it is in now,” he said. “We can do better. We can make it better.”
He emphasized to the skeptical crowds that he will work to reduce quickly-rising medical costs; that any bill must not add to the deficit; and that Blue Dogs like himself fought to delay consideration by the full House of Representatives to allow members to hear directly from constituents during the August recess.
When a questioner, Ray Evans, said he believed the President wants to do too much at once and asked whether Boyd would “be willing to scrap everything” and start over to do pursue reform more incrementally, the congressman responded: “I think that is an excellent idea … we may end up there.”
In a later interview with CNN, he said the idea had been been floated with the congressional leadership. He said that with the strong emotions and heated opposition he is seeing, the idea of doing health reform in a more piecemeal fashion is something he is strongly considering.
The Democrats can’t afford “piecemeal.” They’re almost certainly going to lose seats in the midterms, and maybe a lot of seats if Nate Silver’s worst fears prove true, so their best chance is to ram home something big right now. It seems to me the question of who prevails is fundamentally an organizational question: Progressives are whining about tire tracks on their chests, but ultimately the worst possible outcome for them is a no vote since it leaves the status quo unchanged. Even an incremental change towards a co-op is some kind of change. For Blue Dogs, from purplish districts, a no vote is acceptable if sub-optimal; the worst vote is a yes to socialized medicine. With those incentives at play, how do the progressives maintain their solidarity? That is to say, if a public option is ideal for progressives but a dealbreaker for Blue Dogs and a co-op is sub-optimal for both, if you’re Obama how do you bypass the co-op and pass the public option? Half a loaf for both is better than any other option, no?