Earth to Sen. Bennet: You Now Have Absolutely No Reason to Not Offer the Public Option Amendment

(Two viewpoints: this is one, click here for the other – promoted by Colorado Pols)

NOTE: Tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/24) at 11am, I will be delivering a petition signed by at least 35,000 Americans in just four days asking Senator Bennet to follow through on his promise and introduce a public option amendment. I am asking as many people in the Denver metro area to be there with me at Bennet’s office at 2300 15th Street in Denver. I hope to see you there.

Facing an increasingly difficult Democratic primary challenge, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has spent the last many weeks trumpeting himself as the Senate’s main champion of the public option, issuing a letter demanding a reconciliation vote on the public option. For this, he has – deservedly – received a lot of laudatory press coverage, including from me on my AM760 radio show and in my syndicated newspaper column. For his efforts, he garnered praise from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and positive stories like this one in the Denver Post in February:

Sen. Bennet pushing reconciliation vote; public option

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is pressing colleagues to use a procedural tool known as reconciliation to pass stalled health reform legislation – and to include the controversial public insurance option in the bill.

This week, Senator Bennet will have the opportunity to offer the public option amendment in the 51-vote reconciliation environment – that is, the environment in which it has the best chance to pass. However, Sen. Bennet’s staff is now saying that Bennet will not, in fact, offer the public option amendment.

Yesterday, Politico reported that his campaign manager suggested Bennet would not offer the amendment because “we’re not going (to) kill the bill to make a point.” Today in the Denver Post, his Senate spokeswoman “that trying to fix the bill at this point is too risky” and that offering the public option amendment would “recklessly sacrifice this bill while tens of thousands of Coloradans are losing their health insurance and seniors are facing critical decisions about their medication.”

These are tough-sounding words – except there’s just one problem: I just received a fundraising letter from Sen. Michael Bennet following President Obama’s signing of the health care bill – a letter that that accurately notes that “Health Care is Law.” This letter says:

The passage of this bill is one of the biggest legislative accomplishments in generations. It will have a massive impact on millions of lives and will pave the way for future, better, reform. We should savor this victory, even if there are parts of the bill that are far from perfect.

In fact, the most disappointing part of this bill for me is something that isn’t in it — a public option. With this first hurdle now behind us, I will continue to push for new legislation, such as a public option, that improves our health care system.

So let’s get this straight: The major portion of health care reform has indeed passed – I repeat: THE MAJOR PORTION OF HEALTH CARE REFORM HAS INDEED PASSED, AS EVIDENCED BY THE BIG SIGNING CEREMONY TODAY; Sen. Bennet is celebrating it’s passage; he is stating that “the most disappointing part of this bill” is that it doesn’t include a public option and he promises that he “will continue to push for a public option.” And yet, even as he promises to “continue to push” for a public option, he is refusing to offer a public option amendment right now when it has the best chance of passing (ie. only needing 51 votes, rather than 60 later), somehow claiming that offering a public option amendment to a separate reconciliation “fix” bill would kill a bill that he acknowledges has already passed.

My guess is Bennet is following the Democratic leadership’s orders not to offer any amendments – as the leadership is trying to prevent the separate reconciliation bill from having to be voted on again in the House (even though the House, of course, has already proven it has the votes for a public option when it passed one months ago). But, then, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is now predicting that some Republican amendments may pass and therefore be added to the separate Senate reconciliation bill, meaning that bill will likely be forced to go back to the House anyway. In other words, even the process rationale for Bennet not to offer the amendment – “we don’t want to have to send it back to the House” – is likely out the window because the bill will be sent back to the House anyway

So what is really going on here? Increasingly, it looks like Bennet is trying to trick Colorado Democratic primary voters and appease the insurance industry at the same time. To voters, he wants to look like he’s a champion of the public option. But in order to prevent offending the insurance industry, he is refusing to even offer the public option legislation when it has the best chance of passing – that is, in the 51-vote reconciliation environment. Instead, he says he’ll “continue to push it” later – of course, later is when it will need 60 votes which both he and the insurance industry knows will be all but impossible to achieve.

The real question is whether or not Colorado voters will be fooled? It’s hard to say. But if he really doesn’t offer the amendment, it is a blatant admission by Bennet that the fix was in from the get go – that his letter on the public option that he got so much press attention for was all kabuki theater.

I’m still hoping Bennet offers the public option amendment. I mean that honestly – I’m not just saying that. I’ve gotten the sense that he’s a guy who wants to do the right thing – but we’re going to have to see if he’s willing to offend the Washington Establishment to put action behind his public-option words. Stay tuned – and sign the petition demanding he follow through.

69 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. peacemonger says:

    Your stupid idea risks the entire reconciliation process. Maybe your family doesn’t need the benefits of the bill, but mine does. I have five family members without insurance. I’ll be damned if my family members go to bed in pain because they can’t afford to see a Dr., so you and Andrew Romanoff can build your vain careers.

    • StrykerK2 says:

      you don’t actually read anything other people write anymore do you?  You just call everyone else stupid.  I’m glad you’ve reverted to the arguments of an eight year old.

      Do you not even get the hypocrisy that he’s talking about?  Bennet wants to continue to claim that he’s pushing to put the public option in while he’s refusing to…wait for it…push to put the public option in.

      • sxp151 says:

        you’ll have to back off on the public option right now. That’s not me being cautious. That’s not because I’m trying to secretly kill the public option. That’s not because I’m trying to keep our powder dry. It’s because that is the explicit deal made between the House and the Senate.

        Without that deal, health care wouldn’t have passed the House. Not even close.

        If the Senate breaks that deal, the House passes NOTHING that the Senate sends them. Democratic infighting for the rest of the year, a dispirited base, Republican victories, the whole nine yards.

        Oh, and no public option either. The House is done with this bill. The Senate’s amendment will not pass in the House. So on top of fucking things up for everyone else, your plan also just fails.

        • StrykerK2 says:

          Even if Romanoff, Sirota, FireDogLake, and all these others are wrong about pushing to get the PO in the bill now, what really bothers me is Bennet’s attempt to claim he’s fighting for the PO in fundraising blasts from his campaign while his senate office puts out statements about how it’s too risky to fight for the PO at this point.

          Bennet is trying to work it from all sides, but it’s really just a PR house of cards

          • sxp151 says:

            You can criticize him for that. He made an effort in writing his letter, but he didn’t get enough signatures in time. Thus his effort, while perhaps well-meaning, was unsuccessful. Fine.

            But at this point all these others ARE wrong about pushing the public option in the bill now. They should push for it later this year; Reid has promised it’ll come up again in its own separate bill, and at that point it would actually be useful for all those people to fight for it. NOT. NOW.

            Now we need to pass this fucking bill. I have been undecided in this primary, but if Romanoff supporters keep missing the point here, it’ll push me firmly into Bennet’s camp (and I will donate in a primary, something I hate doing). Please listen to reason. We are SO CLOSE to passing this bill. A Medicare buy-in is on the horizon as a separate bill. A public option is on the horizon as a separate bill. It’s not like this is the last time we’ll ever talk about health care.

            But it will be, if the reconciliation effort fails this time. How do you expect the Senate to ever pass anything by reconciliation if they can’t even do this? This is both our test case for future strategies around the filibuster, and the culmination of a year-long fight over health care. If we lose this, we get nothing for the rest of the year, and we could possibly lose our majorities.

            DON’T. FUCK. IT. UP.

          • peacemonger says:

            most of the unions, health care groups, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Huffington Post and others.

            Huffington Post today reads, “If the Senate parliamentarian upholds any one of those points and the bill is altered by so much as a deleted comma, it must then go back to the House for a final vote.

            That’s a scenario Democrats want to avoid and is the justification behind the leadership’s decision to urge Democrats to vote against every … See Moreamendment, even amendments they might otherwise support – such as a public option. “We know the Republicans are likely to offer a lot of amendments, and some of them may be appealing to Democrats, but we have to urge them to stick with the bill,” Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters earlier in March. “We have to tell people, ‘You just have to swallow hard’ and say that putting an amendment on this is either going to stop it or slow it down, and we just can’t let it happen.”

            Now, if Bennet hears otherwise, I am confident he will introduce it. He wants the public option as much as the rest of us do.


            If Reid and Durbin tell Bennet to go ahead, I have no doubt he will fight for the public option. He will do it if it is the right strategy for historic health care reform, not because Andrew Romanoff and David Sirota back in Denver dare him to do it.

        • MADCO says:

          about getting all facty and reasonable.  

          Start getting irrational and calling some names- or ….or ….

          why you, I oughtta!

      • peacemonger says:

        Seriously, you have no idea what you are talking about.

        • peacemonger says:

          I didn’t call anyone stupid. I called what Romanoff and Sirota are doing stupid… unless of course, they are trying to derail health reform at the very end, after we all worked around the clock for 15 months to get it.

  2. denverco says:

    that other amendents might be added and passed you are willing to play political games? The public option can be added to other reconcillation bills and still need only 51 votes. Why risk such an important bill?

    Seems like you and Romanoff are kabuki theater in your actions. Anything for attention.  

  3. Steve Harvey says:

    Argue, if you will, that Senator Bennet should propose a public option amendment. But if you publish the statement that there is “absolutely no reason” not to, then you are simply a liar. There is a reason not to: It increases the risk that the reconciliation bill will be sent back to the House, and it increases the risk that the House will not pass it.

    Either you don’t understand the meaning of the word “absolutely,” or you believe that publishing falsehoods is justified when you really, really want to convince people of something. Either way, very unimpressive.

    • denverco says:

      Or maybe a huge coincidence:

      Wade has a blog on Huffington Post of course quoting Jane Hampsher and David Sirota, demanding support for a public option.

      Then we have this and on Firedoglake Jane does the same thing while also interviewing Romanoff, gee what a coincidence!

      Playing politics with this health care bill is beond shameful, guess some folks are willing to do anything to get elected.

      Oh by the way the night of the healthcare vote, I got a fundraising call from the DCCC asking for donations now that the bill had passed. I am sure this is something every Democrat is doing and Romanoff could have done also if he had supported the original bill that Bennet was willing to vote on and support.

  4. MADCO says:

    “best chance”


    How do you come to that conclusion DS?

    Speaker Pelosi didn’t think so.

    Senator Reid doesn’t think so.

    But wait- you do and wrote it in bold so it must be true.

    Even you say “chance”, implying that it’s not a certainty.  If reconciliation doesn’t pass is it a disasster? No. but it’s much much better if it does pass.

    But since just last week you were in the “scrap the health care bill and start over” camp, it’s not surprising to me that you  would take a cavalier risk now.

    Start over is somehow better than get a public option later?  I don’t see it. remind me not to vote for you if you ever get the urge.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      that out–you know, that last week, all true Democrats were supposed to gut the bill, start from scratch and take no prisoners. Now suddenly, the bill is fabulous and just needs the public option added back in, after the fact.

      • MADCO says:

         Well- we D’s are sort of known for being bad at messaging.

        And generally, the sane and pragmatic participants blow off this kind of bs ’cause we typically think everyone else will see through it. All too often, we’re wrong.

        But we go on believing that the insanity is just too crazy for anyone to take seriously.

        Sirota is for kill the bill and start over- he has plainly said so. If amending the reconciliation bill now kills it- he’d think that’s great.

        Romanoff is for single payer. why does he want to make such a big deal out of including a public option now?

        The best way to have amended reconciliation and added a public option was to get the House to do it. Why didn’t Romanoff push on Polis & Degette?  Could it be this has more to do with his campaign than wanting to actually reform healthcare?

        Oh- and Romanoff said he would have voted “no” in the first place back in Dec when the health care bill he described as a “false choice” came up.  I’m glad Bennet voted yes.  I like to think if Romanoff had been there he would have too- though that’s not what he said.

        • sxp151 says:

          Bennet was right to push for the public option, but he didn’t get 50 Senators publicly signed on to do it via reconciliation. Maybe he would have, if given more time, but we ran out of time. Health care needed to pass now, before it sucked up the entire rest of the year.

          Pelosi saw that they were only up to 40 or so, saw who was left on the list, and decided it was either pass the bill now or get nothing at all. I think she was right to do it. Applying more pressure on her wouldn’t have done anything except perhaps cause her to make a dumb decision instead of a smart one. The best it could have done is to kill the bill.

          The Senate should pass the House amendments exactly as written, not because they’re the best possible legislation, but because that’s what the Senate promised to do. If the Senate fucks over the House one more time, you can count on not ever getting any progressive-friendly legislation out of the House ever again. House members are already suspecting that the Senate is where good legislation goes to die, and this would confirm everything they fear.

          Reid did not release the names of the 50 Senators who promised to pass the reconciliation bill without any amendments, so we don’t know if Bennet is one of them, but I’d like to think he is. He doesn’t need any more enemies.

          (This message isn’t for you personally, since I know that you know all this, but just in general since it keeps coming up.)

  5. peacemonger says:

    They no that even one ammendment will screw up the process and send us backward. Is Andrew Romanoff really a member of the GOP?

  6. CU87 says:

    David Sirota is one of Colorado’s most respected progressive journalists, and he’s far smarter than any of the reckless commenters on Pols. It’s unbelievable how you self-proclaimed Democrats are succumbing to the hysteria and spineless rhetoric we so often see coming from the GOP.

    At first I thought you all must have been bought by the Bennet campaign, but now I know you’re all just crazy.

    Good luck trying to go head to head with David Sirota.  

    • denverco says:

      Was always against this health care bill and advocated for its defeat because it didn’t include what he wanted.

      You may respect that I don’t. He would rather nobody be helped if the bill isn’t one that he approves. He may be smarter and respected by your standards but not by mine.  

    • Steve Harvey says:

      Does that mean we all have to defer to his superior intellect?

      The only time one’s resume gets them special consideration when they are asserting a position is when they are a specially trained professional making an assertion specifically about an issue which falls within the purview of their special training. If a plumber says X and Y conditions lead to corrosion of certain kinds of pipes, then the pediatrician disputing that assessment is to be accorded somewhat less deference.

      But on matters of public policy, not implicating any specialized knowledge, no one gets to claim that their arguments prevail because they are smarter than the rest of us. You have to prove it every time you make a case, and it is only the strength of your arguments, not how impressive your resume is, that counts.

      • peacemonger says:

        Rove, too.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          I don’t see any evidence that Sirota is particularly smart, but I conceded the point for the sake of argument. Mastery of reason does not strike me as his strong suit. Real intelligence militates against the self-destructive ideological extremism that defines him.

          • StrykerK2 says:

            I had thought about kicking your campaign some money, but now that I see you just waste all your time blogging about national issues instead of talking to voters about state issues (which you apparently want to deal with since you’re running for state office), I don’t think I’ll waste my money.

            If you actually expect to be taken seriously as a candidate, might I recommend that you focus on things related to your campaign?  Or are you jumping into the U.S. senate race?

            • Steve Harvey says:

              “if you speak openly about something that I don’t want you to speak about, I will try to shut you up by withdrawing my support and trying to convince you that it is against your own interest to keep speaking.”

              1) No problem. Withdraw your support. My opinions aren’t for sale, nor is my voice.

              2) My goal, as a candidate and as a human being, is to make marginal improvements in the quality of our shared existence, along numerous dimensions. And I have always said that the political battle field of the human mind is a far more important and fundamental arena than the political battle field of electoral politics.

              3) I am a candidate in order to advance ideas I consider important and relevant, rather than someone who advances ideas tailored to the exigencies of being a candidate.

              4) I will continue to think about and discuss ideas at all levels of analysis and all levels of abstraction, even while seeking office at a particular level, and in a particular sphere of human endeavor. The two are not mutually exclusive.

              5) As I just wrote to a personal friend who finally expressed his anger at my more vocally expressed opinions on this primary contest, I am doing so against my own interests, knowingly, because I believe that more voices are needed in opposition to what I find to be an inappropriately strident tone of personal attack against Senator Bennet. It offends me, and it should offend all of us. My integrity is more important to me than my candidacy. Sorry to disappoint you.

              6) I have also publicly (on this blog) rebuked Bennet supporters when I felt that they had stepped over the line, and had become too personal and too strident in their criticisms of Romanoff. I still like and respect Andrew, and hope that those many of his supporters who have not tried to destroy Senator Bennet’s reputation in order to advance Speaker Romanoff’s prospects will forgive me for speaking out as I have.

            • Steve Harvey says:

              On this particular issue, of whether Bennet should propose an amendment to include the public option, the stridency of criticism of Senator Bennet isn’t of central relevance; the merits of the arguments on each side are.

              To me, and to many others, it is apparent that proposing such an amendment would be the height of folly. This is another round in the on-going struggle between a Party’s ideologically pure but politically self-defeating far wing and a Party’s pragmatists. I am the latter, always, in that, no matter what I consider to be ideal, I will always strive to do what is most rational in pursuit of improved conditions.

              As I wrote long ago, before this particular incarnation of the debate appeared, rather than wondering weather the satisfaction of having screamed “I am Spartacus!” was really worth all of us dying in slow agony on crosses lining the Appian Way, I would prefer for us to take steps that enable us to live healthier and happier lives.

              Theatrical poignancy is not the height of political success. Legislative accomplishments are. On the cusp of a hard-fought, nearly-lost, barely-won victory, less than desired but enormous none-the-less, resulting in a piece of legislation that, as Danny so wisely put it, creates an entitlement (or at least the seed of one) that can now be refined, I consider it an insane gamble to take an action almost guaranteed to scuttle the legislation at the last minute, on the counter-factual hope that it will result in a better piece of legislation being passed.

              Public discourse is all about presenting our arguments and letting the competition among them inform public policy and political strategy. I’m merely presenting mine.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I’m happy to go head to head with Sirota anytime, any subject. Sirota is the left-wing equivalent of the tea partiers – philosophical purity over success.

      • redstateblues says:

        But I agree with your first sentence. And, in fact, we have gone head to head with Sirota in the past, and those interactions have usually devolved into Sirota telling us all to go to hell when we disagree. In other words, it’s a lot like his radio show.

        Fortunately he has a pleasant voice, and he’s kind of disarmingly funny on the radio, but his argumentation skills are no better than the average joe blogger.

        • caroman says:

          I watched a fascinating interview between David Frum and someone from the Club for Growth (CFG).  Frum was arguing reasonably that the GOP should attempt to participate in the legislative process to achieve some compromises.  The CFG guy said, No Way!  We’ll never compromise!  We don’t care if we lose everything!

          Now, that sounds just like David Sirota and Andrew Romanoff.  If certain legislation doesn’t include everything they want, then they’re happy to see it fail.

          Earth to Romanoff/Sirota:  There is one word to describe people like you — LOSER.

          • cscottrun4it says:

            Let’s face it, Bennet is a coward. This fact has nothing to do with if or when a public option might pass.  The man said, “Yes” when asked if he would vote for health care reform, even if he would lose his job.  

            Then Bennet wrote, “We respectfully ask that you [Harry Reid] bring for a vote before the full Senate a public health insurance option under budget reconciliation rules.”

            Do either of these quotes sound vaguely familiar to anyone but me?  Let me hear it from the back row, Bennet campaign.

            Whether anyone likes it or not, Bennet set himself up for this. He held himself out as the champion of a public health option. He asked for the leadership role.

            So, now that the time has come to debate an option, Bennet doesn’t want to stand up for his earlier actions.  I know, Bennet campaign, your guy’s a pragmatist. Its all about getting the “deal” done.  You scratch my back — I’ll scratch yours.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

            But when it comes right down to it, the people of Colorado want to know, does this guy have what it takes to stand up for what he believes? Alternatively, is he just another mealy mouthed political hack sucking up to his donors?  In Bennet’s case, it appears he’s just a hack.  Even worse, he’s a coward who won’t stand up when the bullets start flying.

            • MADCO says:

              I remember him saying yes.

              I remember the letter.

              The votes aren’t there. Would you risk the death of the reconciliation bill?

            • Steve Harvey says:

              both integrity and intelligence. Either one alone won’t cut it. You (plural) keep demanding that we shoot ourselves in the foot to prove our valor, while some of us would prefer to actually get the job done.

              • botw says:

                Romanoff and Sirota and Wade, et al, would rather shoot themselves in the foot than achieve something.

                If Romanoff was in the U.S. Senate, there would be no Senate bill for the House to approve.  No law in place — starting today — that protects against insurance companies dropping you for preexisting conditions, etc, etc.

                There’s leadership for ya.

            • DevilishlyModerate says:

              You’re just trying to find a reason to attack Bennet, just like Romanoff. If I heard you call Bennet a coward because of your reasoning i’d sock you one and I only do that in extreme situations. I hope you do run for office some day just so that I can take you out.


            • caroman says:

              Really?  From you?

              I’m reminded of my favorite saying:

              Life is hard; it’s harder when you’re stupid.

              But, please. Why don’t you take me up on my straight up bet that Bennet will win in November.  $100 minimum, just so we don’t waste our time.

              Now who’s the coward??


      • peacemonger says:

        He moved here to sell soap. Do you think he’d make more money if the Dems were in power or the Repubs?

        I want Dems to win. I don’t sell anything.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          Somehow I don’t think my comments here will improve my chances of selling s/w to the state of Colorado. But what’s the point of commenting if it’s all to move product.

          • RedGreen says:

            are two very different things, David. You have to persuade a customer you offer a necessary product at a fair price. Sirota has to keep enough listeners glued to their radios enough hours a week that a soap merchant wants to buy ads on his show.

    • gertie97 says:

      He’s a partisan hack and extreme leftist. He’s a purist and in that resembles the far right. Both would rather lose (but be correct in their own minds) than win something once in a while.

      A journalist he is not.

  7. denverco says:

    “Knowing that they need only 51 votes to push a reconciliation bill to final passage, Democratic leaders are telling their senators that each Republican amendment is a “poison pill” that would derail the process. The reconciliation bill is designed to fix the health care legislation that President Barack Obama will sign into law Tuesday.

    But with little to lose at this point, Senate Republicans are planning an onslaught of politically sensitive amendments to a health care reconciliation bill, searching high and low for any way to derail the final legislation.”  

  8. redstateblues says:

    Passing the reconciliation bill will make it easier to get the public option down the road. David and Romanoff think that their idea of how to do this is the path of least resistance, but I disagree. I will add that if I thought the votes were guaranteed to be there, I might have a different opinion.

  9. botw says:

    Senator Bennet put the public option on the table.

    As the great Barney Frank said: on what planet do you spend most of your time?

  10. BlueCat says:

    See “No more delays for healthcare reform fixes” by: bobbyclark.

    And I don’t care if Rachel likes you. No accounting for taste. Familiar with the term “putz”?  Look it up.  You’ll see your picture.

    • DevilishlyModerate says:

      I’m a party guy through and through, but Sirota’s reasoning is like Beck or Limbaugh. Stupid, stupid… You all make good points and I don’t feel as though it needs to be repeated but i’m tired of people like Sirota talking as if he has any credibility. Sirota you might as well be a Republican strategist because you obviously don’t know how to win elections and get anything done

  11. roguestaffer says:

    Really, I don’t. I hope that David knows that Senate leadership will whip against it (Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is on record saying so), but even allowing for that, I think there should be an up-or-down vote on the public option. I think the public option is a great idea, and I’ve supported it all along.

    The thing that people tend to skip over when discussing it is that most of the public option rallying efforts have elided just how many senators are willing to vote for it – Bennet’s letter, which did ask Harry Reid to place the public option up for a vote during reconciliation, only had 24 signatories.

    That’s not something you hear from any of its major proponents – I bet that most people here are operating under the impression that 51 senators or 41 senators are supportive of it. Those impressions are incorrect – those statements of support are fairly hollow.

    Take, for example, Jon Tester of Montana, who according to the Huffington Post, was called a “likely supporter” of the public option:

    “Wow,” Tester said when first asked about the prospect of a floor vote for the public option. He thought for a moment and said: “It depends on how it was designed. I’ve always said to folks, if a public option is designed right, I’d support it.

    That doesn’t sound like a solid statement of support to me; it sounds like Tester is hedging in order to have maximum wiggle room.

    Or take David’s claim that the votes exist for the public option in the House, based on the initial House vote for health care reform. I’m not entirely sure that those votes still exist. They may, but my guess is that this heavy lifting  phase of the health care reform process has come to an end – and that including a public option would be precisely the kind of fraught, pitched battle vote that the House of Representatives explicitly wants to avoid now.  

    Dick Durbin’s office made this clear before the House voted this past weekend:

    “I want to be crystal clear: Sen. Durbin and the rest of the Senate Leadership will be aggressively whipping FOR the public option if it is included in the reconciliation bill the House sends over.

    The fact that the public option isn’t in that reconciliation bill should tell you everything you need to know about its chances in the House.

    Finally, I don’t think that David’s claim that it’s now or never on the public option is credible. I think if the public option is as important and crucial to a well-designed health care reform program as David and other folks, including myself, say it is, then we should continue fighting for it until the cows come home.

    I can’t speak for David, but I don’t for a minute believe that the work of health care reform is finished – no matter how many triumphal emails you have in your inbox. That’s why I joined Alan Grayson of Florida in his effort to expand Medicare buy-in to everyone as a separate piece of legislation. Saying that the only chance we’ll ever have is right now is paradoxical to me.

    We’ve won a large victory right now in the sense that we’ve enacted the framework by which national health insurance will come to pass. If David wants to press for an up or down vote on a public option this week, that’s fine, as I wrote up top.

    If it doesn’t happen, though, then we just redouble our efforts until it does, and we make the addition of a public option to the health insurance exchanges we have now the baseline of our health care reform strategy going forward. I would certainly welcome David’s support and voice in this fight.  

    • roguestaffer says:

      If the public option is good policy now, then it’ll be good policy later, and if it’s important to pass now, then its importance will only increase with time.

      For what it’s worth, I thought that Bennet’s public option ask was slightly flawed, in that the way I would’ve structured it would have been that I, Michael Bennet*, will introduce the public option for a vote if I get 51 other Senators to sign this letter pledging them to vote in support.

      As it was structured, the letter was designed so that any forward motion on the public option was dependent on Harry Reid (or another Senator) introducing it, which then allowed Reid to punt the public option to Durbin, who in turn punted the ball over to the House side – in essence, a case of legislative hot potato.

      *I’m not affilated with Bennet, or any campaign.

    • MADCO says:

      no disrepect, no bs.

      Well done.

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      well done

  12. DaftPunk says:

    If I wasn’t married and didn’t HAVE to go to bed I’d have a lot to say.

  13. buddy318 says:

    Are you an idiot or a Republican? Or both….?

    Let’s give Bennet a chance at winning in the general election which means don’t go out on a limb with the public option now. There will be plenty of time to add that later…

  14. davidsirota says:

    Frankly, I find it very depressing that simply asking a senator to follow through on his commitment is criticized by some in the comments as blasphemous, disloyal, “purist” or otherwise unacceptable. You can disagree, I guess, with the notion of asking a legislator to follow through on his commitment – but try to remember that he made the commitment, and that in a democracy, many citizens believe such public commitments should be upheld. They believe that legislators should not make commitments – or campaign on them, or fundraise off them – if they are not prepared to follow through.

    Further, a lot of people believe that if a senator does not force a vote on the public option, there will never ever be a vote on a public option in some vague, undefined future, as promised by the same liberal groups and politicians who engineered the public option’s removal from the bill.

    You want to make a process argument against a senator fulfilling his promise? Fine. You want to be opposed substantively to the public option? Fine. But the need of some to attack the integrity or motives of 35,000 people who think it’s not too much to ask that a commitment be fulfilled is truly grotesque. It is a level of cynicism, power-worshiping, and politician starfucking that sets new lows.

    • peacemonger says:

      blasphemous, disloyal, “purist”

      The point here, Dave, is that the Senate is going on break Monday for the spring holidays. If we don’t get the reconciliation bill signed quick because someone stuck an ammendment or two or twelve in it, we will be off the clock on this one, and it will be sent back to the drawing board. The reconciliation bill adds a lot more protections to the bill that was just passed (remember when you used to criticise it all the time for “not being enough”?).  

      By forcing an ammendment, you are KILLING THE BILL, DAVE, making life harder and more dangerous for a lot of innocent people. Is getting some attention for your radio show to boost your ratings really worth hurting innocent people?  

      I don’t believe you are that heartless, Dave.

      • davidsirota says:

        He’s a partisan hack and extreme leftist. He’s a purist and in that resembles the far right. Both would rather lose (but be correct in their own minds) than win something once in a while.

      • davidsirota says:

        You are making a Bush-ian argument – “If you oppose the war in Iraq, you want troops to die.” It’s absurd – and gross.  When people can’t afford their premiums because there are no cost controls – because not one senator stood up – you will have to look in the mirror and ask yourself questions. Not me – and not those of us who have the courage to simply ask our legislators to follow through on the promises THEY made.

        That you cite THEIR schedule – as if they HAVE to go on break – just shows how badly, terribly, tragically brainwashed and sycophantic you really are.

        • DevilishlyModerate says:

          Mr. Sirota you are simply being political. It’s obvious that you support Andrew Romanoff, just say it next time before you attack a sitting Dem Senator for doing something that would be idiotic. You know what the ramifications would be if Dem Senators changed anything in the reconciliation and you have made the ignorant point to do otherwise. It’s sad to see that you’d rather score a political point against Bennet than to pass health care reform.  

        • Steve Harvey says:

          If you have any intellectual integrity, lay out both arguments to the best or your ability, and then explain why your position is better for the public good.

          Bullying, shaming, insulting, and degrading are not arguments, but rather rhetorical tactics, and weak ones at that.

          Tell us, in excrutiating detail, why the action you are insisting upon will better serve the public interest than doing what those on the other side insist is the wiser and more responsible course of action. Lay out all of the possibilities, and all of the probabilities associated with each, and the costs and benefits of each option. Make the argument.

          Or, conversely, if your point is not that proposing a public option amendment is in the public interest, but rather that Bennet is morally deficient for having (allegedly) promised something that he now is not following through on, make that argument instead, with precise quotes, showing how what he said can only be interpreted to mean that he would, under these circumstances that exist today, propose the public option amendment, and that to fail to do so is as reprehensible as you are doing contortions to insist it is.

          What you are doing instead is conflating two arguments, and supporting neither very compellingly, all the while insulting everyone else for calling you out on it.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          Your analogy is so far removed from relevance that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

          Your “Bush-ian argument” is an assertion in which the premise and conclusion are causally disconnected. The argument about not wanting to scuttle this health care bill with a Senate amendment is one that is based on a careful consideration of causal chains.

          In fact, structurally, your argument is the one most similar to the “Bush-ian argument” you’ve raised for comparison: Both are descents into symbolism confused for substance; both eschew careful consideration of cause-and-effect; both are unreasoning emotional appeals; both try to disguise a package of ideological assumptions by falsely claiming that they form a logical argument; both dissolve into invectives when challenged; and both represent the kind of thinking on matters of public concern that we should all be striving to transcend rather than embrace.

    • PERA hopeful says:

      We just got through 8 years of ideological purity prevailing over pragmatism and compromise.  We called that the Bush administration.  Bush made his hiring and policy decisions based on ideological purity: hire the evolution-denying Liberty U grads; give maximun benefit to the richest of the rich; American power is more important than constitutional protection.  If it didn’t meet these ideological criteria, it didn’t have a place in the Bush administration.

      That didn’t work out so well.  You seem to want the same thing from the left side.  Please stop it.  You should be smarter than that.

    • MADCO says:


      Yes- in blog-land people exaggerate and call names and such.

      But do you really think the 35,000 are well served by killing the bill? Which has been your position in recent weeks.

      Do you really believe the 35,000 understand either the process or the risk?

      Do you really think of your 35,000 there are no fakes who just want to disrupt and delay? That there are no misplaced campaign loyalties who just want to embarrass the opposition?

      As for a “a alo ot people: believing that if a Senator doesn’t force a vote on the public option now it will never ever happen. Ever.  Great – one question:

      Why the Senate?  The better place to make the case was in the House: they had already passed a public option, they are closer to the people, if they had included it Durbin promised to whip for it, and so on.  Same up or down opportunity in the Senate- but with it already passed in the House.

      Could it be that you have motive that wouldn’t be satisfied by pushing on Degette or Polis?  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      You can then always hold yourself up as never having compromised your beliefs in any way. Feels good and easy to do.

      Passing legislation is hard. And it always requires compromise. Many times you get to decide between bad and worse. But the thing is, without this you don’t get anything passed.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      Senator Bennet ever promising that if the House passed the Senate’s healthcare bill through reconiciliation, with the agreement understood that the Senate Democrats would not offer any new amendments, he would nonetheless insist on undermining this coherent and successful legislative strategy in order to satisfy the self-destructive ideological purists in our party.

      I must have been doing the laundry that day.

      I do remember him saying that if the House included the public option in the bill, he would whip the Senate Dems to pass it with the public option intact. The House didn’t.

      The Senator is not failing to fulfil any promise that he made, because his promise was never divorced from the procedural realities upon which it was contingent.

      I, personally, have never attacked anyone’s motives, though mine have been attacked often enough. I guess hypocricy isn’t one of those “grotesque” defects that riles you up so much.

  15. JeffcoBlue says:

    The most absurd part of this, by a mile, is Sirota’s claim that he is “neutral” in this primary.

    With Sirota and fellow “netroots elite” Jane Hamsher taking turns bashing Bennet at every gratuitous opportunity, and paycheck chasers Celinda Lake and Joe Trippi working the inside of Romanoff’s campaign, it could not be clearer what is happening.

    It’s irresponsible, it’s so obvious, and you are doing serious damage to the credibility of the “netroots.”

    The worst part of this is, you all know that what you’re doing has no chance of success, and could do much more harm than good to long term chances for passing a public option. Perhaps it suits your William Jennings Bryan pissed off fantasies to see HCR go into effect with the “Cornhusker Kickback” and other politically suicidal side deals intact, most recognize that the dangers that would pose to the long term credibility of health care reform are much worse at this point. You’re smart enough to know better, but you’re intentionally setting that aside because you are in the tank for Romanoff.

    It’s a good thing the netroots has reasonable people like (cant believe I’m saying this) Markos Moulitsas and Darcy Burner, both of whom, if I’m not mistaken Dave, have pronounced you, Hamsher and this whole misguided crusade of yours to be full of shit in recent days. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: during eight years of struggle against Bush, we were all screaming. Now that we’ve won and it’s time to govern, we learn that some among us only know how to scream.

  16. NeonNurse says:

    …when this attempt to sandbag Bennet will fall on Romanoff’s head.

    People are thinking it through and starting to see this ruse for the fake-gotcha that it is, realizing that those pushing it are so intent on trying to blacken Bennet’s name that they don’t care how much damage they do in the process.

    Currently, Romanoff’s major talking point is that he is much too moral to take evil PAC or corporate donations.

    Here’s my question, which I sincerely hope will be asked of him at least as many times as people have nagged at Bennet to push a public option RIGHT NOW:

    If you are such a stand-up guy, why are you deliberately framing Bennet as a villain, when it has been made clear he is only trying to not sabotage the halfway decent bill that’s a sure thing? How can you be the more moral choice when you corroborate in lies just to gain political advantage?

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