Monday, June 22, 2009

Nate Silver: "Special Interest Money Means Longer Odds for Public Option"

Nate Silver, summarizing his long and detailed analysis:
To repeat myself slightly, given the following three contingencies...

1. A good CBO score for the House (public option) bill;
2. Successful intervention on behalf of the public option by Obama;
3. The willingness and/or ability to proceed in a 50-vote environment, a.k.a. reconciliation

...I believe Democrats need at least two of these three things to occur to make the public option a realistic possibility, and perhaps all three to make it a likelihood.

If none or one of these things occur, progressives are probably better off devoting their energies to deciding whether they prefer Wyden-Bennett or some other "outside-the-box" alternative to the sausage that the Finance Committee winds up making.

To be clear, not all of the opposition to the public option is the result of special interest money. Most Republicans probably oppose it on general principle, and there are a couple of Democrats, like Maria Cantwell of Washington, who have yet to come around to it even though they've taken almost nothing (in Cantwell's case, literally nothing) from the insurance industry. But the money is why, even with 59-60 votes in the Senate and a President with high approval ratings, Democrats are facing an uphill battle on the issue.

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