A teaser for an NYT bombshell due out later. Normally I wouldn’t post on it until the article’s up but this can only mean that they’re going to go all out for the public option and use “reconciliation” if need be to nuke the filibuster in the Senate, no? Why cut the GOP out of negotiations only to settle for some watered-down alternative like co-ops? If you’re going to kick the minority party out of the room and anger half the country, you might as well make the bill as syrupy sweet to your own side as possible. And if that means having to take a precedent-setting step as draconian as reconciliation to deal with Blue Dogs like Ben Nelson who might not accept a public option, hey. Besides, Grassley and Jon Kyl all but told the Democrats today that they won’t vote for the final bill regardless of what’s in it, in which case it’s pointless for The One to keep making concessions. He might as well get the bill he wants, paint the GOP as “the party of no”, and hope that the inevitable ill effects of his program don’t appear before the midterms. Which they probably won’t.
While we wait for the Times piece, a few fun data points from the new NBC poll out tonight. Note the numbers on question 15. The One’s really rolling the dice here.
Update: Here’s the NYT piece. Nothing concrete.
[S]uch a change could alter the dynamic of talks surrounding health care legislation, and even change the substance of a final bill. With no need to negotiate with Republicans, Democrats might be better able to move more quickly, relying on their large majorities in both houses. Democratic senators might feel more empowered, for example, to define the authority of the nonprofit insurance cooperatives that are emerging as an alternative to a public insurance plan…
Administration officials, who maintain that Republicans are badly mischaracterizing the legislation that has emerged from three House committees and the Senate health committee, said they had hoped to achieve some level of bipartisan support. But they are becoming increasingly convinced that they will instead have to navigate the complicated politics among varying Democratic factions.
The officials said the White House hoped to make the case to the American people that it was Republicans who had abandoned the effort at bipartisanship. Republicans countered by saying that they simply opposed the legislation and that the public outcry had validated their view and solidified their opposition.
One senior administration official said the sense within the White House was that Republicans, in an effort to undermine President Obama and Congressional Democrats, had made a political calculation to oppose any health care legislation.
Thus did a party that no longer has enough Senate seats to pull a filibuster somehow become an obstructionist, utopia-destroying leviathan. Belated exit question: Is this all just a ruse by The One to put pressure on the Blue Dogs to accept a public option? Symbolically kicking the GOP out of the negotiations leaves the media free to focus on conservative Democrats as the true stumbling block to universal health care. Ironically, the “go it alone” move may be aimed more at his own side than at the GOP.