President Obama’s two biggest problems politically are 1. a frankly crazy and irresponsible minority GOP party (with plenty of enablers to be sure) and 2. His own party affiliation. In the immortal words of Will Rogers, President Obama is not a member of any organized political party, he’s a Democrat.
If the House Dems are serious about refusing to pass any bill without a public option then this is going to end badly. It’s likely headed for a re-play of 1994: no bill passed and Dems potentially losing the House in 2010.*
I know there are some Dems out there who think this is a great thing, that they are finally getting a spine. But this is like growing a spine out of your hip. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party learned the lesson that they need to put pressure on Democrats else they cave in to centrist triangulation. But the lesson they should have learned (and the party as such needs to learn) is how to actually govern as a majority party in America. They used to know how to do it.
It simply does not appear that there are the votes for the public option in the Senate, period. And yelling about how the President needs to show more leadership is doing nothing but hurting their own party (a thing Democrats have perfected to an art form).
This one is for you Mr. President:
There is some evidence that the House would back off that strong stand on no bill if no public option. Speaker Pelosi seemed more open to the idea at a presser with Majority Leader Reid yesterday. And Steny Hoyer has explicitly said the House would pass a non-public option bill.
I think what could pass is a trigger for public option. As we saw with the stimulus, as goes Ben Nelson, so goes Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Baucus and Kent Conrad would likely follow.