In a way, Olympia Snowe's trigger would be the perfect public option solution for the Obama White House, because then they could say it might be in the bill even after the bill is signed. I don't know if we elected a President or Hamlet. And clearly the messaging isn't getting any better.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's top political adviser is backing away from having a government health care plan compete against private carriers.
David Axelrod says Obama believes a public option would be a good tool. But Axelrod says "it shouldn't define the whole health care debate." [...]
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says President Barack Obama is considering his own health care legislation to cut through the stalemate on Capitol Hill.
Gibbs says Americans will know exactly where the president stands after his speech to Congress on Wednesday night. He says Obama is ready to "draw some lines in the sand."
It's still unclear what Obama will do on a proposal for government-sponsored coverage to compete with private insurers. Gibbs says the president supports it. But Gibbs isn't saying Obama would veto a bill if it doesn't include the public option.
So it's a good tool, and the President supports it, but maybe not, but he might write the bill himself, but he's open to anything.
Larry: Right you. The one in the middle, what do you think?
Second Writer: (panic) Er... er...
Larry: Come on!
Second Writer: Splunge.
Larry: Did he say splunge?
First and Third Writers: Yes.
Larry: What does splunge mean?
Second Writer: It means ... it's a great-idea-but-possibly-not-and-I'm-not-being-indecisive!
Larry: Good. Right . .. (to third writer) What do you think?
Third Writer: Er. Splunge?
First Writer: Yeah. Splunge for me too.
Larry: So all three of you think splunge, huh?
Larry: Well now we're getting somewhere.
The public option, a compromise back from single payer, remains popular with the country, an opportunity to offer an alternative to greedy insurance companies that people hate, and a measure which would save up to $150 billion dollars over 10 years. So of course that has to go. But I'm actually less concerned about the loss of a proposal that corporate interests don't like - that's expected at this point. It's the piss-poor messaging, especially when good messaging is staring you right in the face, that really bugs me. What the hell has happened to these guys? (Probably that they want to keep corporate money flowing to Democrats while trying to pass legislation that in theory would weaken them, an untenable scenario that ties them up in rhetorical knots.)
The way American elections apparently work is that millions of ordinary people work really hard for a candidate that they think reflects their beliefs, and then Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory decide which of those beliefs are allowable and which are beyond the pale. And the Village lives happily ever after.