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Veal Pen “Opt-Out” Gaining Steam? Where?

As we’ve been saying all along, eventually the veal pen would be dragged in to get the White House off the hook and kill a meaningful public option. That’s what all the "veal pen" writing has been about. The question is, how much of their progressive credibility will they have to sacrifice in the process?

I’ve got a running tally of all of the veal pen leadership, scribes, "fellows" and reliable go-to’s who have stepped up to sell this fucking travesty. Because? Because it gets Rahm off the hook even if it undermines everyone who has been fighting for a public option.

Now we’re being told that Tom Carper has the answers. Really? Tom Carper, fresh off his CSPAN appearance telling the Senate Finance Committee that their role is to honor the secret deals between the White House and PhRMA because after all PhRMA paid for it with political advertising. TPM reports that he’s the author of the "opt-out" public optioon. And Sam Stein reports that it is "gaining steam" among moderates.

Get a load of all that wild enthusiasm:

  • Joe Lieberman: "It’s worth looking at."
  • Ben Nelson: "Worth looking at."
  • Baucus staff member: "Senator Baucus will look closely at this proposal."

How about Carper himself? Let’s hear his passionate defense of his own proposal:

DHUE: Now there is another idea out there that would have the Federal government create the plans but let the states opt out of it. Is that a better offer?

CARPER: Or the state could opt in. And there is discussion along those lines. We’ll see where those talks may lead.

Even the "moderates" don’t want to own this piece of shit.

So go veal pen! You own this. You are the ONLY ONES to come out for this abomination. So, come on, let’s hear it! What’s the matter, did the role of trigger pimp get too painful? Did Rahm promise you that they’d lay the groundwork better on this one?

I just have one question for the veal pen. Where is there even one, and I mean one, member of the Democratic caucus who has said they will join with Republicans to filibuster it? Come on, you’re cheering for a sketchy plan with only a one page "white paper" that nobody has seen. Surely you’ve thought this through, and are convinced it is a necessary step to keep Democrats from voting against cloture.

So, who is it? If you’re acting out of political necessity, who is this mysterious Senator (or Senators) telling you they’ll take this bold step, who don’t have the courage to say so in public?

Because everyone who has worked so hard to rid the world of triggers and co-ops and get things to a place where no member of the Democratic caucus wants to take responsibility for ditching the public option would very much like to know why you feel you need to destroy the fruit of their efforts at just this moment.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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