On Friday, Greg Sargent picked up on a quote from Chuck Schumer in this New York Times
“One of the strongest arguments against a public option has been that the Republicans will never go for it,” Mr. Schumer said. “Well, the Baucus bill doesn’t have a public option, and they’re still not for it in any way, with the possible exception of Olympia Snowe,” a moderate Republican senator from Maine, who has not ruled out supporting the overhaul that Mr. Obama is seeking.
Greg made a point that bears repeating as this week unfolds:
Schumer has been admirably lucid about this process throughout, and this gets at, I think, an interesting paradox about the current impasse. The GOP’s refusal to back even the dramatically watered down version of reform that’s emerged from the Senate Finance Committee makes it more likely that the final product will look a good deal more like what many Dems originally wanted.
The Times piece, by the way, is worth reading, since you rarely see such lucid reporting on why many Dems sincerely think the public option isn’t dead. The piece even mentions all the polling that constitutes empirical evidence of its popularity!
Here’s what the Times mentioned about polling;
The second development that has encouraged liberals is recent polling, including some done for The New York Times and CBS News in the last week, that gives Democrats a clear edge over Republicans as the party favored to deal with health care issues. The same polls show significant support for a public option despite months of criticism from Republicans, who describe it as a government takeover of health insurance.
So, let’s review: 1) No GOP support for real reform, even the weak Baucus bill; and 2) even after the summer of the teabagger protests, there is strong public support of the public option. Now, anyone with an ounce of common sense would suggest moving ahead with the strongest reform bill possible, including a public option. There were some glimmers of common sense last week from Schumer and Senator Rockefeller. But, common sense isn’t a virtue on Capitol Hill. Conventional wisdom is. And, the conventional wisdom isn’t reality-based.