Corporate Media Continue to Play to Conservative Arguments on Health Reform

It's axiomatic that if you can frame the terms of a debate, you've gone a long way towards winning it. And opponents of the moderately progressive health reform bills working their way through Congress have had a huge assist from the supposedly "liberal media" in doing just that.

Consider how the political dynamics of the debate were characterized in a recent article in The Hill titled, "Dem split on the public option casts doubt on reform of healthcare." (The whole piece is pretty much garbage, but I just want to highlight these descriptions to make a point.)

Democratic aides and lawmakers are questioning how their party can pass a health reform bill next month with centrists and liberals at odds over a core aspect of the legislation.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) has pledged to include a government-run insurance option in the House bill that will be voted on next month. This reassures liberals but will make it difficult or impossible to get the votes needed to pass it if the public option is included.

Democratic centrists and vulnerable lawmakers in the party are signaling that they are not happy with Pelosi's plan.

One Blue Dog said Pelosi's pledge to include a public option favors her liberal base in the Democratic Caucus.

Other Blue Dogs say overhaul legislation can be done if it is brought back to the center of the political spectrum.

The centrists’ concerns were reflected earlier this month when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), leadership's liaison to the Blue Dogs, suggested a public option might need to be dropped to pass a bill.

Centrists think the bill is too burdensome to small business, and that its $1 trillion price tag is too high.

Others worry that Pelosi is trying to force centrists to vote for provisions that are unpopular in their districts and may never become law.

With Republican opposition expected to be nearly universal, Pelosi will need centrists if she is to win a simple majority.

That leaves Pelosi caught in an increasingly bitter feud between her liberal and centrist factions.

On the liberal side, 60 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus signed a letter saying they would oppose a Blue Dog deal that they believe would weaken the public option.

OK, so Republicans will stand united, and "centrist" Dems are bickering with "liberals." Pretty straightforward analysis. Now consider just two basic points of fact ...


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