No public option, no passage. And the votes are there, apparently.
You’d never know about this from most media accounts, probably because progressives aren’t screaming, yelling and waving guns around. Yes, it’s a battle of wills, and no, I can’t predict the final outcome.
But I’d wager that progressives around the country are now in little mood to compromise on anything, and we’re certainly not going to cotton to some giant industry turd with “health care reform” written on it.
While the diversionary clown shows continue, the administration faces the basic decision Molly Ivins used to describe as “dancing with them what brung you,” to paraphrase the late and great Texas columnist. It’s pretty clear that’s what Max Baucus and Kent Conrad are doing.
The conservative clown shows are already wearing thin, in addition to getting creepier, and their political utility will continue to decrease as we get more into the fall. At some point clowns grow tiresome.
So it seems like the short term strategy is to move the debate back to actual policy, rather than the incomprehensible nonsense we’ve been witnessing. You can add “death panels” to the long list of recent American political idioms like “Schiavo,” “Katrina” and “”weapons of mass destruction” that are shorthand for conservative craziness, incompetence and lies.
No rational person can do much but shake their head in sorry amazement at how the right always doubles down on being nuts, never seeming to realize that the short term media attention eventually gives way to the broader, non-cable watching public recoiling in horror.
If progressives in the House can hold firm, everyone is going to have to deal with them. If that upsets some Blue Dogs, well, cry me a river. The ongoing political re-alignment needs to be helped along sometimes, and if we wind up with fewer Blue Dogs, so much the better in the long run.
As another Texan, Jim Hightower, used to say, there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow lines and dead armadillos.