From Turkana here. (And definitely threaten to relieve Lieberman of his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship and any other privileges he enjoys as part of the Democratic caucus. He's a piece of work.)
So, some are suggesting that the Democrats are willing to punt the public option, under threat of filibuster, in the Senate. If so, that would be absurd. The Democratic leadership's response to those threatening a filibuster should be simple: we dare you to try. Because if the Democrats stand their ground, they will win. Even if the bill temporarily fails, those key senators responsible for its failure will be done, in politics. And then we can get on with the business of reforming and repairing this broken nation.
Let's look at some easy facts. The public option continues to poll consistently extremely well. Even in Connecticut. Even in Arkansas. Even in Maine. Even in Nebraska and North Carolina. Anyone notice a pattern, here? And key Senators from those states want to be responsible for derailing the public option? And because of that threat, the leadership may decide not even to try?
It's time for the Democratic leadership to stop playing games. Move the bill forward. With the public option. Dare those senators to make good on their threats. Get our very popular president back on the airwaves. When he speaks, people listen. And support for his issues improves. Because people support him. And because he's superb at selling an issue. So, send him to some of those key states. Force some of those recalcitrant senators to debate him. In public. Force them to explain to their constituents why they are opposing a bill those constituents support.
By even wavering on what to do, the Democratic leadership sends a message that they don't really believe in the public option, or that their belief is not strong. Taking a stand would send a very different message. It would prove that the leadership knows they are doing what is right, knows that the public supports doing what is right, and is ready to stand down those who oppose doing what is right and what the public supports.
It's not complicated. Press forward. Don't waver. Act as if this matters. Dare those threatening to filibuster to do so. Force them to decide whether they want to be on the wrong side of history. Do it very publicly. Put their careers and their legacies on the line. Buckling to a threat is the definition of weakness. The Democrats are in a position of strength. It's time they started acting like it.