This morning, the Hill has this story.
A full 60 Democrats have now pledged to vote for healthcare reform only if it contains a public option.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (obtained
by Firedoglake), the Congressional Progressive Caucus took issue with Sebelius's recent statement that a public plan was "not the essential element" of healthcare reform, and pledged 60 votes against final passage unless a public plan is included
Of course, this weekend, Kent Conrad said there weren't enough votes in the Senate to pass the "public option". If you take both at their word, that means there is no bill. Obviously, we'll see but more importantly we're into day three of the Democratic food fight over whether or not a public option should be in the bill.
No matter what the final outcome, this is bad news for the Democratic party. I have been amused by some of my liberal readers still accusing the Republicans of derailing this effort. Not even the most hardened liberal could think that this dust up is the fault of the Republicans. Instead, the biggest story over the last three days is the infighting in the Democratic party. Think about that for a minute. First, health care reform is crashing. Second, we've been debating this since March. Yet, now, in August, the party still hasn't figured out if they will or will not include the public option. Talk about a failure of leadership.
Meanwhile, Democrats still can't control themselves in lashing out against the town hall protesters. Here's what Senator Specter said over the weekend.
Democratic Senator Arlen Specter said in an interview on “This Week” that he supports Americans right to organize, but warned that recent town hall ruckus from critics of the Democrats' health care proposals are not representative of the public's view on the issue.
“I think we have to bear in mind, that although those people need to be heard and have a right to be heard, that they are not really representative of America in my opinion,” Specter said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The president and his Democratic allies are still demonizing the insurance companies. So, let's take stock. The Democrats are fighting with the protesters. They're fighting themselves, and they're fighting the insurance companies. Like I said, that's a debacle.
Meanwhile, with Democratic lawmakers insisting on demonizing the protesters, this only gives the protesters a platform to respond. Now, one of the most publicized confrontations was between Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and a town hall attendee in which Lee took a phone call during the question. Here's the respondent on On the Record.
Then, here's another protester that actually asked the president a question.
The common theme coming from all of these protesters finding their fifteen minutes of fame is that they are unimpressed with the answers to their questions and that the politicians aren't "listening to them". That, frankly, is not a good place for a politician to be. So, as long as Demcrats insist on demonizing the protesters, they will be the story and they will continue to show up on television to say that they are 1)unimpressed with the answers to their question and 2) the politicians aren't listening to them. The Democrats have effectively made these protesters a major story over this month and so they have created for this to become a loop on news over and over.
Finally, with all the bru ha ha over "death panels", here's a real life grandmother speaking out.
What's the common theme here? Citizen voters of every stripe are all coming out against the health care bill in unison. Like I said, this thing is a debacle.