Just got back from a liberal group exec meeting tonight that I'm apart of. We got to talking about whether we wanted to do anything next meeting about health care... since it looks like this whole debate will linger until then. The conversation devolved into a discussion about DC health insurance reform in general. It was a little saddening to see so many activists giving up on what's the most important piece of the bill, the public option. It's the "reform" in health insurance reform, and it's the only aspect of the bill that has any hope of tangibly lowering the cost of health care for the American people.
Look, the Baucuses and Conrads of the world are not the be all, end all of the debate, no matter what Chris Matthews would have you think. They may be so self inflated as to think that what they says goes, but that's not how the world works. At the very worst, there's a stand off between the House and Senate. Good democrats in the Senate may not think there's 60 votes for a public option. Thankfully, once a bill goes through conference committee, all you need is 51.
If people give up on health insurance reform, we won't get that 51. The risk-adverse and corporate coffer crowds will take over. There's 60 progressives in the House who have signed onto a letter saying they will not vote for a bill that doesn't include a public option, drawing a line in the sand. No bill passes without their support. If we hold strong, the Conference Committee will have to include a public option, or it's a bust. If we waffle, those 60 will cave. I don't know what's going around in your neck of the woods, but there was a whole lot of waffling at the meeting I just got out of.
It's hard to understand, but why can't older democrats get past our loser-ism? After we just won a giant majority of Government by standing strong, you'd think these activists could stand just as strong after the election, but all too many are back to their old ways. Memo to Democratic Activists who are afraid to win: we're not losers anymore, stop dragging us down.