White House in disarray over public option
So is it still in or not? Not even the White House knows at this point.
This was made evident by the Obama administration walking to the edge of eliminating the public option and then scurrying back. This kind of thing, by all rights, should have spurred a host of stories and opinion pieces on the total, laughable incompetence of the president and his people. Of course, it won't. The press is still in "protect at all costs" mode - but it's hard for the reader not to draw their own conclusions about the level of stupidity being exhibited by Obama and his crew of hapless dolts - the gang that can't talk straight about health care reform.
You have Democratic senators like Kent Conrad proclaiming the death of the public option in the senate. Then you have Obama himself at a town hall meeting saying that the public option "is not essential" to reform. This was echoed by Obama's HHS secretary Kathy Sebelius who said two different things to two different TV shows yesterday. Finally, late yesterday, a walk back by the White House who contradicts Sebelius and says the public option is still a "goal" of Obama.
Meanwhile, the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the left is becoming quite entertaining. How liberals ever believed that Obama was anything except a hack machine politician who could give a decent speech only shows the capacity for self delusion on the left.
Obama can't decide what to do. If he scraps the public option, he has a war on his hands with the far left and the netnuts on blogs. If he insists on keeping it, he probably loses health care reform altogether.
As opposition to reform builds, not even his vaunted grass roots organization is doing much of anything to help. And few Democratic politicians seem willing to stick their necks out and rescue the president from his own incompetent leadership. He has given little direction to lawmakers, preferring to stay in the campaign mode that he has never left and go to town halls, give speeches, and let others do the heavy lifting to get the bill passed. This is a president who either refuses, or doesn't know how to govern - and can't tell the difference between a political campaign and being president.
The press has been able to shield the president so far, but even they will not be able to mask his utter failure if health care reform dies. Chances are still about 50-50 that the president will get some kind of health care bill to sign. Odds are good that it won't contain a public option or much in the way of Medicare cost savings - two essential elements that the president has insisted all along must be in the bill.
Watching him trying to spin whatever watered down version of health care reform as a "victory" should be almost as entertaining as watching his administration flail about wildly on the public option.