In case progressives were beginning to feel as if the Obama administration doesn't really care what they think, they can rest assured: the White House hears them loud and clear. It just doesn't like the message."I don't understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," an anonymous senior White House adviserWashington Post. "We've gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don't understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform."That's probably not a characterization--"left of the left"--liberals would have chosen for more than five dozen members of the Democratic caucus. And it doesn't exactly inspire faith that the White House sees the public option as more than a sliver of reform. But it also doesn't suggest they're expecting House progressives to fold.And, in a bit of good news for progressives, it comes just as White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel--who could even be the Post's anonymous official--tells theNew York Times that the GOP "has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day."People who believe that at least including a public option is necessary for health care reform are the—apparently quixotic—"left of the left"? Official-Who-Is-Definitely-Not-Rahm, the "left of the left" wants single payer. They always have. If you had had the political sense of a gerbil, you would have used that to set a left boundary that you could then negotiate down to what you have now.
No, a public option is what anybody more progressive than Max Baucus (D-Insurance Industry) is willing to settle for, because it's the only way to stop the insurance companies from taking their new windfall of economic rents and building a cosy little price-fixing cartel with it. They know that, as it stands, this scheme would be worse than the status quo without a public option. They aren't willing to sacrifice their nation's physical and financial health to prop up your little giveaway to the only group of people who deserve it less than, say, Goldman-Sachs.
(Whom you also propped up. Fancy that.)
It's the sheer contempt that really angers me. What the hell is this "left of the left" crap? Some kind of ridiculous "Sista Soulja" moment, as if that were necessary in 2009, from an anonymous official? Obama's already rejected his own base enough. He doesn't need you to do it for him. He at least doesn't say it, which is nice, but anybody who's paid attention to the rendition and transparency issues knows the score. Even Kos has had enough, and that's saying something. If he, or his officials, had any respect at all, this wouldn't be the case.
But if they can't respect you, perhaps they should fear you. They shouldn't fear violence—that's the tool of Republicans and dullards. They should fear your activism. They should fear your passion. That's how you win.
Remember the mantra: "If you vote for a health care bill without a public option, I will devote every spare moment and every spare dollar to your primary opponent".
Say it. Mean it.