First Reactions to Public Option Failure

Bloggers break down the Senate Finance Committee's votes

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Hours ago, the Senate Finance Committee voted down the hotly-debated public option amendments offered by Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Jay Rockefeller, respectively. This is considered a win for the committee chairman, Max Baucus. So is the public option really dead? Or will it live to see another day. Here are the first takes:

  • No News Here  New York Magazine's Dan Amira calls the outcome "entirely anticipated."
  • Where There's a Will There's a Way  "Socialism threatened to overwhelm the nation Tuesday," snipes Salon's Mike Madden. "Fortunately, the Senate was ready to stop it." But "the bottom line," he says, is "that the bill [is] still on track to move out of the committee. That would give Democratic leaders the chance to merge it with a more liberal version passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and  Pensions Committee." Schumer and Rockefeller believe they'll get another shot.
  • 'Mostly Dead,' declares Katherine Mangu-Ward of Hit and Run, quoting Miracle Max in the Princess Bride: "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive."
  • Thanks, Guys  "The Senate Finance Committe," writes TPM's Brian Beutler, "can't even endorse a modest public option like Chuck Schumer's ... There will be no public option in the Finance Committee's health bill."
  • 'Down in Flames,' exults Red State's Dan Perrin. "The implications for Speaker Pelosi are profound. Her insistence on a public option in the House bill will force even more Democrats to vote no, and the chances that it will become law are small." Senators Rockefeller and Cantwell are "threatening to offer the same amendment on the Senate floor," and "Senator Harkin claims he has whipped his Democratic colleagues," and now has the votes necessary for passing the public option, but who knows? One thing's for sure: "either Senators Rockefeller and Cantwell follow through on their threat, or their threats, now and in the future will be meaningless."
  • Public Option Just Not Likely  Sure, writes Politics Daily's Patricia Murphy, "[a]mendments to add the public option can still be offered on the Senate floor when health care reform comes to the full Senate, but the lop-sided tally of the committee's vote makes passage by the full Senate with a 60-vote majority unlikely."

Update, 5:33p.m.: The Atlantic's Derek Thompson agrees with Mangu-Ward, right down to the Princess Bride reference. "Round one," he acknowledges, "went to the public option opponents. But there are more rounds in this bout. Next up is the full Senate, and then the House, where a public option could conceivably slip into the statutes."

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