News & Politics

The Path to Victory on the Public Option

It looks as if the Democrats have potentially 45 Democrats signed up to support the public option. Now is the time for the final push.

Currently, as the awesome Senate targeting chart showed yesterday, we are at 38 votes for the public option. (Huge hat-tip to HCAN and DFA on the chart). As such, we need at least 12 more to pass it thorough reconciliation.

That sounds like a daunting task, but a closer look at the Senate shows that it is definitely winnable. Here are the key targets, ranked in order of perceived likelihood for supporting a public option during reconciliation. Progressive Punch lifetime scores (in parenthesis) on crucial votes were used as the main, but not only, determining factor in these rankings:

The low handing fruit (7)
Al Franken, MN
Would Al Franken's first major act as a Senator be to oppose a public option, and take a right-wing position relative to the rest of the caucus on the most prominent issue of the day. Really? Really really? I'm certain we can win over Franken.

Amy Klobuchar, MN (82.30)
Klobuchar has the second highest progressive punch score of the remaining undecideds. She also signed the HCAN petition in support of a public option. Also, she hasn't really said much either way on the public option so far. I would be very surprised if we couldn't win her over.

Ron Wyden, OR (85.92)
As hubbird reported in the comments, Wyden probably is already in support of the public plan, but he is also interested in pushing his health care proposal hard. Wyden is also the most progressive of the undecided votes.

John Kerry, MA (79.67); Tim Johnson, SD (74.12); Mark Warner, VA (79.47); Herb Kohl, WI (79.19)
All four have not too terrible voting records, and also signed the HCAN pledge on a public option. We should be able to move them all.


Those seven would bring us to 45 Senate supporters of the public option, only five away from passage. A look at where we can get the remaining votes can be found in the extended entry. As you will see, this is a very winnable fight.


Chris Bowers was a full-time editor at MyDD from May 2004 until June 2007. Some of his projects have included the creation of the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, the first scientifically random poll of progressive netroots activists, the Use It Or Lose It campaign, the nation's most accurate forecast of Democratic house pickups in 2006, and the 2006 Googlebomb the Elections campaign.
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