An almost poignant moment of naivete from a guy convinced that he represents some sort of fringe-left “silent majority,” reduced to begging The One to commit political suicide by embracing full-blown socialized medicine because they’ve “got his back” and it would be really “bold” or something. Never mind the polls showing that the public’s already gagging on a watered-down bill; never mind the warnings from analysts across the spectrum that the GOP’s set for major gains in Congress next year thanks to the backlash over government expansion; never mind the fact that, against that backdrop, Blue Dogs aren’t about to fall on a grenade for Obama by agreeing to a public option, let alone single-payer, no matter how much of his own political capital the president might be willing to invest. In fact, at this point, it might be more than just the Blue Dogs who are ready to bail.
Needless to say, I encourage Obama to take his advice, thereby dooming the bill in Congress, confirming the worst fears of grassroots conservatives that the president’s a none-too-secret socialist, and making a Republican tidal wave next year pretty much a fait accompli, but I won’t hold my breath. More likely is that they’re going to try to pass a public option via the back door in the Senate, with all 60 Democrats voting for cloture and then nine imperiled Dems voting no on the actual bill so that they can claim, falsely, that they opposed it. Ace thinks that tactic won’t fool the public given how badly it failed during the amnesty debate, but I’m not so sure. Exit question: Given Ben Nelson’s comment that a bill that passes with fewer than 65 votes will be illegitimate, does that mean he won’t vote even for cloture on an amendment that would include the public option? And if so, where do the Dems get the 60th vote needed to evade the filibuster then? Click the image to watch.