The Wrong Kind of Pressure from Obama?

Is Obama pushing progressives to drop the public option?

In my post earlier today, I suggested that if the president wanted to pass legislation, rather than just be a famous person, he would probably need to do the hard, unglamorous work of, ya know, trying to pass legislation. That is, he'd have to start pressuring senators to pass specific legislation. I suggested that with House Democrats taking a progressive pro-public-option stance on health care, and with 60 votes not there for a non-public-option bill in the Senate, a straightforward path would be for him to specifically pressure public option opponents to relent.

The good news is that the president seems to be starting to get serious about legislating. The bad news, as Jane Hamsher notes, is that he may be getting serious specifically about pressuring Democrats to drop the public option.

We'll see what comes of the White House meeting with Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Maybe the president is listening to Rockefeller and is going to come around to his position. I sure hope that's the case (and if it is, I will happily amend this post).

David Sirota was the top spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. He is currently writing a book on the middle class economic squeeze for Crown Publishers. You can contact him at
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