Blue Dogs Offer Bogus Justifications for Opposing Real Health Reform

The primary justification that conservative and moderate Democrats offer for their policies is not the strength of the policy, but rather its electoral and legislative viability. The way that members of the Senate Conservadem group talking about the public option is a good example of this:


  • Joe Lieberman cites the lack of votes as his main reason for opposing a public option:
    And the third, and probably the most important, the votes are not there for a public health plan, government-run option.
  • Kent Conrad refuses to go on the record on a public option, simply declaring the issue "moot":
    Pressed, Conrad's spokesman said the senator doesn't have an opinion on the public option, because he believes the issue is "moot."
  • Max Baucus:
    "The public option cannot pass the Senate," Baucus said.
  • Bill Nelson:
    "You can't get 60 votes in the Senate," Nelson said of a public option. "I'm trying to get something passed."
  • Mark Pryor:
    "My guess is that there are not votes to do it in the Senate, even a very modest public option like what he's talking about," Pryor said.

Instead of arguing against the public option in policy terms, the Senators instead argue that the public option simply cannot pass. In fact, among these five Senators, only Joe Lieberman has even stated his opposition to a public option--and Lieberman cites the inability of the public option to pass as his "most important" rationale for opposition.

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