Oh my: Kill the bill, says ... Howard Dean

The only thing that can save us from final passage now is the insane bitterness of “principled liberals” at seeing their dream of true socialized medicine smashed. Help us, Dean-o, you’re our only hope!

The gauntlet from Dean — whose voice on health care is well respsected among liberals — will energize those on the left who are mobilizing against the bill, and make it tougher for liberals to embrace the emerging proposal. In an excerpt Kinzel gave me, Dean says:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”…

Dean had previously endorsed the Medicare buy-in compromise without a public option, saying that the key question should be whether the bill contains enough “real reform” to be worthy of progressives’ support. Dean has apparently concluded that the “real reform” has been removed at Lieberman’s behest — which won’t make it easier for liberals to swallow the emerging compromise.

That makes two leading nutroots lights to come out against the bill since the Medicare compromise was dropped. I’m skeptical that there are any Senate liberals willing to be the 41st vote against cloture — Burris made some noise this morning about demanding a public option, although even his language was qualified — but there’s a huge bloc of House progressives that will take this under careful advisement. Remember, Pelosi’s bill only passed by five votes; the more momentum there is on the left for the idea that Reid’s bill is a grand sellout, the more precarious this gets. No wonder Democratic pundits were rushing out pieces this morning urging liberals to take the deal.

As for Dean-o’s point about reconciliation, after all the damage this process has done to Democrats among independents, the left’s big vote-winning plan now is to have Reid … cram the public option down America’s throats using an arcane parliamentary procedure? With Lieberman, Nelson, Lincoln, Bayh, Pryor, and possibly one or two other Blue Dogs screaming “no way”? We may have actually reached the point where true-believin’ progressive ObamaCare supporters are so desperate to have their dream bill that they’re willing to trade the House majority for it. Which is well and good, but someone had better let Pelosi know pronto.

Update: It’s popcorn time, kids.

Democratic votes may stay home from the polls in retribution for Congress failing at health reform, a top liberal lawmaker said Tuesday.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said that members of the Democratic Party’s base “aren’t even going to go to the polls if they don’t have a public option.”…

“I don’t see what we’ve accomplished,” Woolsey said. “If we were going to have insurance reform, we could have done that very simply. If we don’t have a public option and at the very least we don’t have a Medicare buy in then we aren’t offering any competition to the insurance industry.”

She says she doesn’t know if she could vote for Reid’s bill.