Ezra Klein, who blogs for the Washington Post, and I couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Nevertheless, I read his blogs because they provide as good a preview of the Left’s position on health care as you are likely to find.
I found this on his blog yesterday quite interesting.
You could have seven Democrats vote against the bill on public plan grounds and still pass it by 53. You just can’t have them join a Republican filibuster against the bill. Thus far, no Democrat has evinced a willingness to filibuster health-care reform as opposed to voting against the public plan. And in this ferocious a political environment, it’s hard to imagine any of them doing so. The liberal backlash would pretty much guarantee a funded primary opponent.
It’s also worth saying that there’s a difference between bargaining away the public plan and giving up on the public plan. Conrad is giving up on the public plan, in public, in return for nothing. He’s not locked in endless deliberations and bargaining it away for solid Republican votes and higher subsidies.
Here is what I read into those two paragraphs. First, the Left is not going to give up on the public option. It’s not negotiable. Second, they will let some Democrats stray so long as they still have enough votes to pass it and they will devour any member of Congress who after the vote joins the Republicans in any procedural exercise which would strike the public option.
Come September, this is going to get down to hard ball politics and the Left is not inclined to leave with half a loaf.
By the way, Klein is a darned good writer and a passionate advocate for his position. I don’t agree with him but I respect his opinions and admire the manner in which he puts them forth.