More Thoughts on the Public Option


I’m reading through the responses to my earlier post about the Public Option and how much the now-emasculated version of it is actually worth. Some of the responses, to put it bluntly, amount to: this bill isn’t great, or not exactly what I wanted it to be, so let’s just pull the plug on the whole effort. Others say it’s the Senate Dems’ fault since they just should have ignored or plowed through the current set of rules forcing 60 vote majorities.

What does surprise me though and what I’ve seen few good answers to is why there wasn’t more of a push from the outside on the question of ‘up or down votes.’If you go back to the earlier part of this decade when the cloture/filibuster issue became a big deal, largely on the Supreme Court nominations front, the right made a big push on the outside about the issue of allowing up or down votes (i.e., 51 vote majorities) simply as a matter of principle. That is perhaps implicit in the current debate. But it’s very, very implicit. Pressing that issue earlier in this decade opened up a part of this debate that’s really pretty absent at the moment. In essence, it opened up another front in a legislative battle that wasn’t tied to the particular policy or legislative issue at stake.

Why that didn’t happen or perhaps why it still couldn’t happen is a pretty good question I haven’t seen a good answer to.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of