Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Nate Silver: Lame Excuses on Public Option, but no "Scam"

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion: Presidency Donate to DU
 
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 07:38 AM
Original message
Nate Silver: Lame Excuses on Public Option, but no "Scam"
Edited on Sat Mar-13-10 07:42 AM by babylonsister
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/03/lame-excuses-on-...

Lame Excuses on Public Option, but no "Scam"
by Nate Silver @ 6:26 PM


I covered a lot of this ground in a post a couple of weeks ago, but it's worth going over again as some of the usual suspects are alleging that the Democratic caucus has "scammed" their constituents out of a public option.

1. No, it isn't clear that the Democrats ever had 50 votes for the public option in the Senate. A couple of people have cited this list by Jane Hamsher, but that list interprets several ambiguous statements as yesses, includes some purported yes votes who actually voted against the public option in committee, and includes others (like Jay Rockefeller) who have said they support the public option, but not through the reconciliation process. A newer, fresher whip count on Senators who support including a public option in a reconciliation bill is now at 41 votes -- which reflects a lot of progress but obviously remains somewhat short of a majority.

2. It's also not clear that anyone connected with the Democratic leadership ever actually said (before Scott Brown was elected) that the public option had 50 votes in the Senate (but fewer than 60). Until Glenn Greenwald, et. al. can actually provide a link to someone who made a statement like this to the press (it wouldn't surprise me if they can, but they haven't yet), they're basically arguing against a strawman.

3. It's further unclear that the public option currently has the votes in the House. Obviously it did at one point, since a bill passed the chamber in November with a public option included. But that bill was passed with only two votes to spare, and there has since been attrition in the Democratic caucus. In addition, with several members of the Stupak block likely to switch their votes from yes to no, Nancy Pelosi will have to recruit several new members to replace them. With the lone exception of Dennis Kucinich, the only available targets are those who opposed the bill from the right.

4. Having said all that, it's also not clear that the public option doesn't have the votes, since a lot of Congressmen have uncommitted or ambiguous positions. My sense is that the votes probably could be whipped in the Senate, but that the House would be problematic depending on the size of the Stupak block.

5. The various comments made by Pelosi, Durbin, et. al. are indeed pretty lame and circular, but probably reflect something like the following:


Pelosi and Durbin/Reid aren't certain whether the public option has the votes or not. What they're not about to do is spend a lot of time whipping for it when (a) health care is a heavy enough lift as is; (b) there's only downside in terms of the vote-counting, since only Kucinich opposed the bill from the left whereas 38 Democrats did from the right, and (c) there's arguably as much political downside as upside, since even though the public option as narrowly construed is popular, it also makes the bill identifiably more "liberal" at a time when Democrats are trying (with some success, in fact) to frame both the process and the substance of the bill as bipartisan and moderate.

You can certainly argue that Pelosi has made the wrong calculation -- and you can certainly argue that she should be offering a more robust and honest assessment of her calculation to the public, since the people who care about this stuff are ber-high information voters who quickly parse through bullshit. But it also isn't just a matter of willpower. A full-throttle effort to whip votes for the public option might succeed, or it might fail. The leadership has decided that it would invite too much trouble to find out.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 07:42 AM
Response to Original message
1. Six one way, half dozen the other, Nate
The effect on the electorate is still the same.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I don't think that's fair.
Clearly, Glenn Greewald felt it was both important and appropriate to accuse the Democratic leadership of engaging in a scam -- an excercise of deliberate deception. Was it beside the point when Greenwald made that argument? After all, the effect on the electorate is the same either way.

I believe accusing anyone of perpetrating a scam is a serious accusation. If the accusation is made, I think it is only fair that the evidence be evaluated to see if it supports the claim.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Seems from my reading that Glen and Nate have by in large the same take
Greenwald agrees with Ryan Grim and frames it as a "matter of will," noting that over 50 Senators are already on the record with their support. (His "Rotating Villain tactic" doesn't specifically address wafflers in the House).

When Nate concludes: "A full-throttle effort to whip votes for the public option might succeed, or it might fail. The leadership has decided that it would invite too much trouble to find out" he's considering both houses of Congress, but leaving out the administration.

So is (and was it) a scam when it came down to doing what it took? Or was it risk aversion that could or can be overcome if everyone were willing to stick their necks out for popular and effective public policy- knowing or guessing that one side wouldn't, as in a prisoner's dilemma?

Not sure, Skinner- but my bet is that the effect on the electorate will end up to be the same- and it's reasonable to conclude from how it's all played out that none of the sides really thought a public option would be part of the final bill from day one.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. The problem here is that you take the "50 Senators" as Gospel
- which it isn't. The Hamsher list was posted on DU - and what Silver says is true. She includes Senators whose comments were ambiguous - even leaning to No. Another that claimed 51 is an old list - http://standwithdrdean.com/where_congress_stands?chambe... - that was Howard Dean's. It does show 51, but it includes Kirk of MA (and Brown is a NO), Olympia Snowe, and Rockefeller, who is for it, but not through reconciliation. Eevn eliminating Brown and Snowe takes the number to 49. Even at the time, there were Senators on the list who voted against it in committee - like Max Baucus and Blanche Lincoln.

What you call "risk aversion", I would call "prudence". Siver makes a good case that, in both Houses, it would be harder to get the entire bill passed with it - and passing it is not assured.

But, after they pass the bill, there is always the possibility some time in the future, if costs continue to escalate, that a simple bill adding a public option could be introduced. If the entire bill is rejected, there likely will not be another try for a comprehensive bill for decades. So, ironically, passing a bill without a public option might be more likely to lead to one than sinking the entire bill.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. I know. You'd think these people would realize by now that the Senators are not dependable.
Dem or Repub. 7 repubs supported and created a bill. Obama came on the floor to support it and then they all flatlined and acted as though it was not their bill. Rockefellar was for public option went to the end of the earth, or I thought so, for it and then what happens? Right, when this paper comes around and we want things to get moving Rockefellar was talking about how he doesn't think he can support this bill if it goes through reconciliation. But as I've always said...the left suffers from selective amnesia.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Well said! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Go2Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. Read my post #12. I think the frustration is with tactics, not intent
"So, ironically, passing a bill without a public option might be more likely to lead to one than sinking the entire bill."

Hmm, interesting thought. I don't much go for the idea that in some miraculous "future", this will get easier. But indeed a case could be made that this could force things to get so awful that support for additional options becomes hardened. My concern would be how long might that take? I think it would drag for quite a while as people really have a hard time identifying with those who are suffering. So now insurance company propaganda will be that fewer are suffering, because most have coverage. We might limp along that way for a long time.

So we seem to trade one serious problem for another. And we have suffering for 10 or 15 years longer. But the alternative, a strong public option, would give a way out for many, and alleviate suffering faster and move us to a better system faster I believe. But it is an honest discussion to have.

But as far as the "way" this has all been done, telling the base that you will be with them, but then pulling support when they are almost there, doesn't seem the best way deal with this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. and...one person's "lame excuse" becomes another person's "scam" depending on
on the degree to which they believe they're being jerked around. lets be honest -- a "lame excuse" is what you offer when your "scam" doesn't fly.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Go2Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. "Scam" is very strong wording.
Edited on Sat Mar-13-10 01:47 PM by Go2Peace
Because it implies bad intentions toward others, and is innapropriate. I believe leadership thinks they are doing the right thing. But can I ask, did they really "try hard" to get a public option? I don't think they were ever really convinced we needed one. That is the part that I believe frustrates people. Telling the base that it will be on place if we can rustle up enough support, but then as we are extremely close instead of fighting everyone seems to shrink back. I mean there are people working EXTREMELY hard and doing almost miraculous things, isn't that worth considering the option worthy and giving it a last minute fight (by everyone)?

Can I use an analogy? I am still waking up so it might not be the most imaginative so excuse that.

But say you have a man who cannot walk, and you want him to see what is around the corner. The man tells you "sure, I'll take a look, if you can pick me up and carry me around the corner, as I need your help." So you pick him up with all your might, and the man goes limp. Making it twice as hard to carry him, and you can't get anywhere. You ask the man "you said you would look if I carried you right? Don't you want to look?" The man replies "Yes, I really do!". But then you go to pick him up again and he goes limp again.

That situation is going to get very frustrating. And that is how it kind of feels with the public option.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. Thank you, Skinner..
Edited on Sat Mar-13-10 02:20 PM by Cha
in my experience, the left like greenwald and hamsher are frequently accusing President Obama and "the Dems" of scamming.

Edit~ Without the evidence to back it up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 08:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Lame but they don't have the votes and are worried that if they try it and come up short the whole
thing will fail. Some here want it to fail but I assure you the leadership does not want it to fail as Rethugs can simply say that Dems cannot govern. The health care bill dying did not help Clinton in 1994, it was seen as a failure of leadership on his part.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. This whole 'if we do X, then the Republicans can say Y' trip
is insane. Have you not noticed that no matter what we say, the Republicans will say what they like? There is NO action we can take that will lead to them being speechless, or truthful, no action that will prevent them from saying Democrats cannot govern. Democrats could work miracles and wonders and the Republicans would say they had failed.
Attempting to get positive reactions or to limit the negatives from Republicans is no way to make any choice. All the love letters across the aisle did not earn the President or his staff a solitary vote. Not one vote. Their 'plan' does not work. The tactic is a miserable failure. Not one vote, for all the
'reaching out' and all. Not one shred of result other than a diluted plan the Democrats are still afraid to stand up for.
I'm not really into supporting craven mediocrity or choices made to please unreasonable opponents who oppose for the sake of opposition.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Go2Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. I agree, it is a poor strategic choice.
Edited on Sat Mar-13-10 01:44 PM by Go2Peace
I hate the Republicans and what they have done. But we can point out what they are doing all we want, but if we are not clearly enonciating a strong set of alternative values we get nowhere but a food fight.

Sure the Republicans get slimed and full of banana in their hair and we get a few more throwing cakes on our side. But we are still stuck fighting and throwing away our food instead of eating it. When we never wanted to throw the food in the first place.

We are still playing their game is what I am trying to say. And we are slowly becoming like them because of it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Either way, we are still scammed.
No single payer, no public option, mandates, no reforms with real teeth.

Yeah, this was really worth waiting a year and a half for. This was really worth all that door knocking and phone calling and travle and campaign contributions and voters registered. Sure, this was all worth it. Not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. eggsactly.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Arkana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
9. Fair enough analysis.
Still, Nate cannot make the mistake that Chuck Todd made and become a political commentator. Todd became an asshole when he left the numbers game.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
quantass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. Factually speaking, I still don't see the argument NOT TO HAVE the PO. I hear excuses to not try.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
17. We have been conned, people!
Our Congress is beholden to Wall Street!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. For a lot of these people, it's a matter of picking one's battles.
Pelosi in particular does this - she knows the game well enough to know when it's worth digging in her heels and fighting for something desirable like the public option, and when it's not worth it. She thinks it's too risky, and decided she's not going to kill the rest of the health care bill over it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
20. Lame, and a Scam. n/t
.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-14-10 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
21. Obviously the simplest way to determine who's scamming who ...
is for the Senate to vote ... on a public option.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. Works for me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-14-10 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
22. The math looks like this because Obama rolled the House Progressives
"only Kucinich opposed the bill from the left whereas 38 Democrats did from the right". Well yeah, the original House Bill included a Public Option.

If the House members who had pledged to not support any bill without a Public Option had held firm, the pressure would be now be on moderates and conservatives to acceopt it, and from what Nate wrote, there is a good chance it would have passed both Houses.

I don't see including the Public Option as a liability for ANY Democrat, no matter how Conservative. No Democrat will escape a full blown right wing attack for supporting a government takeover of health care if they vote for HCR without a Public Option. The potential downside for supporting HCR is fully built in even if there is no Public Option. Including it could energize some core Democrats in even conservative districts and thereby help those running for reelection. The real bridge a conservative Democratic Congressman must cross is the decision to vote Yes; having a Public Option in the bill is a net plus if they vote for HCR.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-14-10 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
23. dennis is the scammer..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
25. Nate rarely lets me down
I like Nate, he's very reasonable when weighing both sides of an argument while having just enough liberal perspective in his arguments.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Apr 19th 2014, 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion: Presidency Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC