It’s clear that the conservadems — Nelson, Lieberman, Lincoln and Landrieu — are willing to allow Americans to suffer in service of their political posturing. Their old school political posturing. Their misguided calculus that running to the right will actually be successful. It’s not. Not any more.
But as conventional wisdom gathers around the further compromising of the public option in order to satisfy their underground filibuster of healthcare reform, I’d like to propose a counter attack.
I think the leading congressional progressives should begin to withdraw the public option compromise. Specifically, the opt out level playing field. For every week that the conservadems stomp their feet, maybe the progressives — Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders, the House progressives, etc. — ought to reverse course and demand a more robust public option.
The danger with this approach is that leadership could entirely kill the public option in order to get Snowe and Collins to make up the difference, but I still think the progressives outnumber the Blue Dogs and conservadems and therefore have more leverage.
Who knows. But one thing is for sure: there can’t be any more compromise on the public option or else progressives will look weak and ineffectual — not a good position considering how the next task following the passage of reform will be to fill in the gaps and make the public option more robust. A strong progressive caucus is mandatory for this process the move forward.