Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Public Option: Progressive Dems Are Not Bluffing

Four hundred thousand dollars from supporters, organizational support, and praise for doing the progressive thing, progressive Dems have plenty of reasons to stand firm and actually beat the Blue Dogs on this one. Darcy Burner of the American Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation says the progressive Dems who have pledged to stand firm on the demand for a strong public option are NOT bluffing.

Dems with a spine, gawd, that is the kind of change I've been wanting to believe in for a very long time.

Roll Call reports:

An organizer for liberal House Democrats says the bloc “isn’t bluffing” as it prepares to take a reputation-defining stand to protect a public insurance option in the health care overhaul.

Darcy Burner, executive director of the American Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation, said the health care debate has rallied traditionally disparate Congressional liberals to hang together, while galvanizing support for their position from an array of left-leaning outside groups. The result, she said, is that Democratic leaders will not be able to clear a package through the House if it does not include the public plan.

“We have never had the Progressive Caucus organized the way it is right now,” Burner said during a Friday roundtable with Roll Call. “This is not the normal scenario. And Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] knows it.”

The group’s organizational strength faces its most serious test this fall, and Burner acknowledged it is incumbent on liberals to convince the White House it will have an easier time getting a bill through the Senate with a public insurance option than getting one through the House without one.

“If Progressives aren’t willing to do the work to make the president do the right thing, it’s unlikely he will,” she said.