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To Reid, The Left Will Not So Easily Be Fooled

First Read is speculating that the Reid will “try” to publicly push for a public option on the Senate floor, and when that fails, he will accept some worthless fig leaf like the Snowe’s trigger or Carper’s Plan B.

Two strategies for Reid: Here’s something to ponder: What’s the better strategy for Reid — calling the bluff of Nelson/Lincoln/Lieberman/Snowe and seeing how intent they are in filibustering (so Reid can placate those on the left), or avoiding that PUBLIC moment and negotiating behind the scenes to a point that gets those centrists on board? There’s a divide among some, but don’t be surprised if Reid goes the public route (as it’s the best way to show the left that he did everything he could do), then goes back to the trigger to move it out of the Senate. What’s Reid got to lose doing that? Who knows, maybe Nelson/Lieberman/Lincoln/Snowe come aboard earlier than expected…

The problem is that if Harry Reid tries to go this route to get a watered-down compromise, it will not “show the left that he did everything he could do.” This is not everything Reid could do. It is not even close. Reid plus 49 other senators can get a real national public option if they really want to. Reid has several strategies he could use. He could pass the whole bill with a national public option (no opt-outs, triggers, or opt-ins) using reconciliation. He could pass just a public option separate from the rest of the bill using just reconciliation. Or Reid could using the “nuclear option” and eliminate the foolish filibuster idea. It is not part of the Constitution, and clearly runs counter to the wishes of our founding fathers.

Any of these three options could be used by Reid to get a public option. In fact, the mere threat of using them could easily be enough by itself. If Reid really supported the public option, he would go to the mat and actually do everything in his power to get it passed. If there is no public option, it is because Reid decided not bruising a few senate egos was more important than giving the American people a public option that would drive down costs, save the government money, and keep the private insurance companies honest. The left will not be “placated” by a big show and half hearted measures.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at