Friday, September 25, 2009

Are the Blue Dogs coming around?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well... maybe:

Blocking a public health insurance option is a relatively low priority for conservative Blue Dog Democrats, according to an ongoing survey of its members. The fading House opposition could clear the way for the public option to move through the chamber.

Although this is a positive sign that Democrats are finally coming together -- which is what many of us wanted coming out of Obama's speech a couple of weeks ago -- it's not the House that's the problem, it's the Senate. And, there, there are still the likes of Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Lieberman to contend with, centrists of a sort who object to the very idea of a public option, and whose votes are needed if Democrats are to defeat a Republican filibuster (and if reconciliation is off the table, as it may very well be).

Still, let's allow ourselves some optimism here. With the Blue Dogs as a whole softening on the public option, there may very well be a real move towards party unity among Democrats. And if the Blue Dogs are coming around, maybe those Senate centrists will, too.


At the very least, it now looks better than ever that a meaningful reform package will be passed, one far more liberal than many of us thought possible back during the dark days of August, when Republican lies seemed to have the upper hand.

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