Yesterday I quoted an article by Michael D. Shear and Ceci Connolly in the Washington Post that the White House is surprised the Left is insisting on the public option. Today the leftie blogosphere is looking at this in two ways.
First, the “we’ve been punked” argument, as expressed by Digby:
But on a political level, the left has been betrayed over and over again on the things that matter to us the most. …
…After 2000, what is it going to take for the Democrats to realize that constantly using their base as a doormat is not a good idea? It only takes a few defections or enough people staying home to make a difference. And there are people on the left who have proven they’re willing to do it. The Democrats are playing with fire if they think they don’t have to deliver anything at all to their liberal base — and abandoning the public option, particularly in light of what we already know about the bailouts and the side deals, may be what breaks the bond.
It’s really not too much to ask that they deliver at least one thing the left demands, it really isn’t. And it’s not going to take much more of this before their young base starts looking around for someone to deliver the hope and change they were promised.
Amen, Sister Digby. See also Scarecrow at FDL.
Marc Ambinder reports that the White House thinks liberals will get on board with a plan that drops the public option but includes a mandate to buy insurance … from private insurance companies?
White House: Bite me.
On the other hand, Marcy Wheeler thinks that much of this noise about selling out the public option is coming from people with their own agendas to promote and is not reflective of what President Obama really thinks.
See also Mike Lux at Open Left:
What I discovered when I worked in the White House was that there were plenty of people who work in that building whose primary loyalty is not to the President but to themselves. They leak things to reporters to cultivate them and make sure they write puff job articles about them. They help certain lobbyists because they might want a job in their firm someday. They empower certain powerful Senators or members of Congress because they are personally close to them, and/or because they might want to get paid big money to lobby them someday soon. Maybe they want to run for office themselves one day, and so they cultivate certain donors.
So while it is possible that all the back-tracking on the President’s bill from anonymous staffers is all a carefully laid-out strategy, since it’s a strategy that is really not working, I think it is also quite possible it is just classic disloyalty from self-interested staffers.
The President will be holding a video conference on health care this afternoon that I plan to “attend.” I will report if he says anything to give us a clear indication of where he is on the public option.