Scarecrow at Firedoglake has a terrific explanation of why this week's sudden turnaround on the public option is the result of political panic, not policy chess.
One can only guess at what finally convinced the White House to publicly admit that the Republicans have become a party of irresponsible, lying crazies.
Did they only just realize that Chuck Grassley, who had repeated every Republican talking point for weeks, would pander to the death panel zombies? Did they just learn that his Party would never allow him to agree to anything meaningful? Are they surprised that Orrin Hatch has a problem with truthfulness?
Is it really news to them that Jim DeMint and John Kyl can't distinguish between a public option, a co-op and a door knob? Or that John Boehner would threaten the drug companies to avoid cooperating with reform efforts, just as he threatened to blackball the industry in 1993?
Or did Rahm suddenly realize that Hamsher woman and the progressives she's helped unite were serious?
Whatever the reason, after misleading Obama's followers and losing more credibility and momentum than they could afford by recklessly hinting the Public Option was just a bargaining chip, "senior Administration officials" *cough* hurried to the New York Times to let us know that they've discovered those Republicans probably aren't serious about negotiating in good faith. Who knew?
Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny report the . . . uh, cover story:SNIP
This week’s careful administration maneuvering on whether a public insurance option was an essential element of any final bill was seemingly part of the new White House effort to find consensus among Democrats, since the public plan has been resisted by moderate and conservative Democrats who could be crucial to winning the votes for passage if no Republicans are on board.
I suppose you could describe running frantically through a minefield as the mines were blowing up "careful maneuvering," but you'd be more likely to use words like "panic," or "in denial" or "scrambling to regain control of the message," and that's being charitable.
It's good that the White House is finally hinting that, gosh, those Republicans don't seem to function in good faith, and gee, we're sure surprised at that Grassley fellow, and darn, why are Boehner, Kyl and Hatch such liars?
But whom does Rahm think he's kidding with this cover story? He's miscalculated from the beginning; he's demaging the President's credibility; he's blowing health reform, and badly, and if it weren't for a lot of hard working, dedicated progressives who stepped up to save the reform effort, we would have lost already instead of just barely hanging in there.
Read the whole thing.
It's Firedoglake Day today - they've been exceeding even their usual high standards lately, and I'm going to feature some doozies.