Code of Silence: What's Behind Some Dems' Opposition to the Public Option?

 There are 59 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate, and the only Democrat to oppose a public option is Joe Lieberman. It takes only 51 votes to pass a public option through reconciliation, and the Senate leadership has not yet decided whether to use reconciliation for the public option.

And yet, somehow, we keep being told by Democratic members of the Senate that there is no way a public option will pass through the Senate. Today, Bill Nelson chimed in:

Nelson later told The Ledger in an interview that the public option also can't pass the Senate.

"The public option is only one of hundreds of issues concerned with health care reform," he said. "Public option means different things to different people. Some people think of it as socialized medicine, but that type is not and has not ever been considered.

"Still any public option will not pass," he said.

There are only three ways to reconcile what Senator Bill Nelson said with the political situation that Democrats are currently presenting to the public: 

  1. The Senate leadership has decided not to use reconciliation for the public option, and just hasn't told the public this yet.
  2. In addition to Joe Lieberman, nine other members of the Senate Democratic caucus are categorically opposed to a public option of any sort, but haven't told the American people this yet.
  3. Bill Nelson is just making random predictions to the media.

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