This is a pretty useless interview conducted by Keith Olbermann with Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos. I respect that both of them strongly favor the public option. I do as well. I also understand the point raised by Olbermann that many polls show broad public support for the public option. Yet the entire discussion is cast in terms of whether Obama is abandoning his progressive base by looking for a compromise on this issue, and Olbermann never mentions the real obstacle – the fact that many moderate Democrats in the Senate will not vote for a bill with a public option.
Olbermann has addressed this before, so he’s clearly aware of the political stumbling blocks, yet he makes no attempt to engage Markos in a constructive conversation about where we might be able to go with this. The only point here seemed to be a progressive high-five session similar to the right wing backslapping that we get on lame shows like Hannity.
I’m still a fan of Olbermann, but too often he slips into an “all-or-nothing” approach to issues that justify the caricatures of Olbermann now coming from the right. Unfortunately, it takes away from the good work he often does on his show.
Any notion that sweeping health care reform that gets rid of pre-existing conditions, stops insurance companies from dropping customers, and makes health care accessible to millions of Americans who can’t get it, but doesn’t include a public option that pleases everyone, is somehow a failure by the Obama administration is just ridiculous.
Olbermann should consider this simple fact. Progressives do NOT have a majority in either the House or the Senate. Public opinion is important, but in the end that alone does not get you the votes you need to pass a bill. All those moderate Democrats might be pissing you off now, but they help provide the majority that makes this health care discussion even possible. The Republicans might talk a good game about reform, but we all know they will do nothing to achieve it. They didn’t even try when they ran the place.
That said, progressives should push as hard as they can for a public option, but killing a bill that doesn’t meet all progressive demands is a terrible option.
Fortunately, I don’t think most progressive members of Congress will turn their backs on Americans without insurance and vote against reform when they are faced with a final bill. Arms will be twisted, deals will be made, and this thing will pass if it gets that far.