Lux: Snowe’s public option “trigger” will trigger “a civil war inside the Democratic Party”

Update from Joe: This is an important development. I’ve known Mike for over ten years now. He’s worked with people across the spectrum of Democratic politics. In fact, Mike was hired by the Obama transition team to serve as a liaison to the progressive community. Team Obama brought him in. They know him. He knows them. So, Mike’s perspective on what the White House is up to carries weight and his warning should be taken seriously.

Mike Lux says that the White House’s infatuation with bipartisanship, in the name of Olympia Snowe and her false “public option trigger,” will finally push the core of the Democratic party too far.

Some senior White House staffers are now beginning to try to sell this trigger to progressive groups as the compromise version of a public option, saying the White House doesn’t want to have a floor fight in the Senate, and that they can always fix it in conference committee. That way they can pick up Snowe, satisfy that desperate urge for being officially bipartisan (even though Snowe can’t bring a single other Republican with her), and not have to worry about procedural hassles in the Senate. But by finally winning Snowe over, the White House is risking something far more politically dangerous: an ugly fight within the Democratic Party, further erosion of Obama’s standing with his base, the specter of more primary fights.

The AFL-CIO, Howard Dean and Democracy for America, bloggers,, progressive media figures, and the tens of thousands of people coming to Obama rallies and cheering wildly for a public option will figure out quickly that this trigger proposal is a farce specifically written to kill any chance of a public option. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus already are angry at having legal immigrants thrown under the bus by Baucus, all will explode.

As someone who spends every single day working hard to build and strengthen the bridge between the progressive community and the White House, I feel like the White House is triggering a bomb to blow the bridge up from under me (pun fully intended).

This trigger will never trigger a public option, but I can tell you what it will trigger: a civil war inside the Democratic Party just when you most need unity to pass health care reform. I am convinced that there are deals that can be struck that will bring progressive and moderate Democrats, House and Senate Democrats together on a good strong health care bill that will pass. But a trigger designed to never trigger isn’t even close to being one of them.

Unfortunately, I’m not terribly sure what short of a civil war would get the White House’s, and the President’s, attention.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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