The “Death” of the Public Option: the Ultimate Triumph of Form Over Substance, for Someone

In an attempt to get a healthcare bill, we may end up with yet another variation — say goodbye to opt-out plans, and hello, likely, to a Medicare expansion with a triggered public option.

Although we won’t know for sure until the CBO score hits, this is either a major triumph, or a major defeat. If a triggered plan doesn’t make it into the final bill (as some sources still suggest), Republicans will have forced a trade to an objectively less promising plan, just to avoid the appearance of “socialism,” and slake the bloodlust of constituents with more anger than sense. If, on the other hand, we do get a triggered plan, we’ll have played upon Republican shortsightedness to get the eventual, permanent public option we wanted all along.

These appear to be the only outcomes left to us, and both are profoundly disappointing, because both reveal the central failure of the political process: despite its disintegrating base, the right retains the ability to hijack debate, and drive the country off a cliff.  Until we can have debates in this country again — real debates, about real things, without charged-but-empty rhetoric — we won’t have our country back. Call it a wish half-granted: the right man for the job, but a constituency with a memory so short, that they’ll still fall for the same dirty tricks.

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9 comments

  1. Until we can have debates in this country again — real debates, about real things, without charged-but-empty rhetoric — we won’t have our country back. Call it a wish half-granted: the right man for the job, but a constituency with a memory so short, that they’ll still fall for the same dirty tricks.

    This is why I support Act Blue’s plan for primary challeneges in Democratic “safe” seats.

  2. I’m on board with that too :)

    1. Right on – Scozzafava the lot of them!

  3. And if it does go through, the left demonstrates that it retains the ability to give the people bread and circuses. This is good?

    1. Steve,
      Huh? Bread and circuses? Really? That what you think of healthcare? Nice to know my fellow citizens are so concerned.

      And MIke, the key difference between what I’m advocating and what happened to Scozzafava is that she, not Hoffman, was the Republican Party’s named candidate – who was then undercut by conservative Republicans getting behind a third Party candidate in ageneral election. Had Hoffman challeneged her in the primary as republican, we’d have had a much diffeent story.

      1. Had Hoffman challeneged her in the primary as republican, we’d have had a much diffeent story.

        What primary?

        1. Yeah, there were no primaries in the NY 23 special election. How was Scozzafava selected? Was it the state party?

          It makes me wonder, though, if there had been a primary, would Hoffman had gotten the attention and national backing he did? Would there have been other candidates to further split the Republican vote in the primary, and to whose benefit would that have been? Would Hoffman have won a primary?

          1. Scozzafava was selected by the state Republican party. Hoffman ran as a third party Conservative candidate to challenge her. I don’t see the problem with him voicing his displeasure at her selection by legally running as a 3rd party candidate.

            If there had been a primary I would have preferred to see Hoffman run as part of that, assuming he self-identifies as a Republican.

      2. Circuses, no, but bread absolutely.

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