House progressives are looking rather spineful, assuming they stick to this:
WEINER: The President does seem like he’s moving away from the public plan, and if he does, he’s not going to pass a bill. Because there are just too many people in Washington who believe that the public plan was the only way that you effectively bring some downward pressure on prices, and if he says well we’re not going to have that, then I’m not really quite sure what we’re dong here.
The Obama admin’s response?
An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.
So it’s “Sebelius didn’t mean to imply that we can have a bill without a public option, she was simply echoing the President’s sentiment that while other people have various opinions about the public option, it isn’t particularly important in the end. Oh and by the way don’t quote me on this.” How can you not fall in line behind that kind of bold leadership?
I forget who wrote it, but yesterday I read a blog that pretty much summed this up: when one party goes to the table and says “we are absolutely opposed to X under any circumstances” and the other party says “we’d really like X, but aren’t dead-set on it,” guess what happens?