An unprecedented amount of overexposure, nearly realizing my dream of someday being able to turn on the tube and find him staring back as I scroll through every channel. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Univision (no Fox, natch), plus who knows? Maybe they’ll squeeze in an appearance on the Food Network, to talk about how important it is to have health insurance in case you accidentally put some tinfoil in the microwave or something.
Last week’s speech did do him some good in terms of his approval rating. He’s back up to 58 percent in CNN’s latest, although (a) Gallup still has him flat at 54, precisely where he was last month, and (b) even in the CNN poll, support for ObamaCare itself is up from 48/51 last month to only 51/46 now, a shift that’s within the poll’s three-point margin of error. I know The One loves the garbage narrative he’s concocted that his big obstacle in passing this boondoggle is Republicans, but back in reality he still has yet to square the circle between Blue Dogs and progressives on the public option. How’s that going to work, Barry? Jay Cost wonders:
As of now, the conventional wisdom among the punditocracy is that the public option will be dropped as a way to pick up party moderates, under the assumption that the progressive caucus will go along for the ride. But will they? It is highly unlikely that all of them will. Most of them would presumably be willing to grant at least some small concessions to add votes – but how far are they willing to go? That depends upon individual legislators themselves, which means that – until you get to 218 in the House and 60/51 in the Senate – every concession the leadership makes had better add more moderates than it loses progressives. This is when legislative calculus begins to look like actual calculus!…
In general I am not sure how progressives are going to view any kind of compromise bill that attracts the moderates. Their attitude seems to be one of deep suspicion of the for-profit health industry. Take away the public option, but retain employer and/or individual mandates, and that looks like a big boon to the insurance companies. They might consider that an outright defeat. In that case, the normal calculations of compromise – you get half a loaf versus a whole loaf, but you’re still better off – would not apply. Progressives might think they have not gotten even half a loaf at all!
This points to one big problem with doing comprehensive reforms like this. Different factions have different diagnoses for what ails the system – and when a comprehensive bill is introduced, it inevitably favors one view over another. If the progressives’ view is on the losing end, they might think the bill does not do much of anything. And remember: the President wants to be the “last” to tackle this issue – meaning that the stakes are very high. So, if the progressives think the bill will further solidify the insurance industry’s hold over health care, they might bolt.
Tom Harkin, who just inherited Teddy’s chairmanship of the Senate health committee, talked tough this weekend about a “strong public option” very definitely being in the final bill. But even Susan Collins, the RINO di tutti RINOs, says she won’t vote for that, not even if it’s watered down with a “trigger” provision. That means their one and only path to a government health option is reconciliation. Does Barry have the stones? I’m guessing … no.