The Progressive Uprising

With the public option at risk, liberal Democrats in Congress and in opinion are getting organized.

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Liberal Democrats may be "set to go it alone" on the proposal for health care public option, reports the New York Times. Indeed, the more progressive members of Congress are beginning to actively battle the White House, threatening "100 votes" if the public option is dropped. Progressive pundits are rallying, calling for ignoring Republicans, going to war with conservative Democrats, pushing the White House to the left, or simply taking over Congress.

  • Questioning Bipartisanship  Salon's Alex Koppelman asked, Why are Dems still negotiating on health care? "Are negotiations worth it? Or, with Democrats firmly in control of both houses of Congress, can they write further concessions off as a lose-lose proposition?" he wondered. "There's the question of what has actually been gained by the moves towards bipartisanship that have been made thus far."
  • Countering Blue Dogs  FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher has written of the conservative Democrats, "Blue Dogs are 'on the other side of the aisle.' And everyone but Rahm seems to know it." Hamsher later wrote of more liberal Dems, "Thanks to the progressive members of the House who have pledged to vote against any health care bill that does not have a public plan. They represent 76% of Americans who want a public plan, and coming from heavily Democratic-leaning districts as they do, an even greater percentage of their own constituents."

    Greg Sargent of the Plum Line wrote of progressive Dems, "In a sense this gives them an opportunity. House liberals, who perpetually complain that the Blue Dogs’ concerns are doted over by the White House and leadership, have a chance to do as the Blue Dogs do: Lay down their marker and refuse to budge."
  • Opportunity for Hard Line  Chris Bowers of Open Left noted, "Progressives have consistently proven more willing to fold than Blue Dogs and / or Conservadems. Given this, the White House is simply pressuring what recent history has shown to be the more easily pressured group when it needs to pass legislation," he wrote. "Well, we have to change this dynamic once and for all."

    Super-progressive MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, ever the cynic, could barely believe it. "Democrats drawing a line in the sand against conservatives in their own party. Democrats playing hardball from the progressive side," she said. "Pinch me. I'm dreaming"
  • Progressives Running the Show  Mike Lux argued in the Huffington Post that progressive Dems have more power than they think, especially in pushing for a public option. Lux laid out several detailed scenarios for progressive to push through a public option without Republican or Blue Dog support. "The media and establishment conventional wisdom, which always tends toward the dire and toward the conservative scenarios, is sometimes proven wrong," he wrote. "So ye of little faith, do not give up hope."

    Digby encouraged progressives to push all they want, reasoning that if reform fails it's Obama and the Blue Dogs who are going to suffer. "They're toast if there's no health care reform anyway, because Dems are going to suffer big losses with Obama's failure and they will be the ones who lose their seats," she wrote. "It's not like the Republicans are going to go easy on Blue Dogs in swing districts out of the goodness of their hearts. It's the New Blue Dogs who are tied to Obama's coat tails, not the liberals who are in safe seats."
  • Nothing But Political Noise  MSNBC's Chuck Todd, on last night's Hardball, pointed out that the progressives making so much hay over the public option may be playing politics and ignoring actual policy goals. "The left, the people that are most up in arms on the public option don't understand what they're even for when it comes to the public [option]," Todd said, summarizing the White House position. "So the White House is trying to preach patience here and saying, Hey, hold on a minute. Maybe the co-ops is going to be able to do what you want it to do on the public option. But you need to be patient here."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.