Friday, September 04, 2009

Sandy Goodman: An Open Letter On The Public Option To David Axelrod

You sent me an email on healthcare from the White House last month, one that went out to millions of people. Now I'm replying by sending one to you. You told me it was time for a reality check. Now I'm telling you the same thing. My message is very simple. As a lifelong FDR Democrat, I won't support any health care bill that doesn't have a robust public option. I'd much rather see a bill without one go down to defeat, than have a bill pass without one.

Apparently, by accounts in Politico and elsewhere, you've been deputized to let it be known that the public option is dead, and to try to appease the majority of us Americans who support it (by 55 to 41 percent, according to a very recent CNN poll) by assuring us that its "spirit" lives on. Sorry, David, that's not good enough. Neither is the "trigger" the White House is discussing with Sen. Snowe. You can be sure that's one trigger that will never be pulled.

I've read that if no bill becomes law, that would be a crushing blow to Obama's presidency. Maybe so. That would be too bad. But we liberals might not knock ourselves out to keep it from happening. Trouble is, you people don't get it. You may have to learn the hard way. Stop worrying about Grassley and Enzi and Rush and Sean and Baucus and Conrad, and Billy Tauzin and Karen Ignagni and their hundreds of lobbyists; and start worrying about the people who worked, paid and voted to put you in the White House. We can live without you if we have to. After all, we survived eight years of George W. Bush. But you folks can't continue to live in that big house on Pennsylvania Avenue without us!

Liberals' strong support of Obama is a political love affair. So he should beware of a strong, angry, jilted lover. As columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:
Giving up on the public option might be expedient. But we didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one.

And if he turns out to be just another pol, then we can do without him.

Read it all

Sandy Goodman, a retired producer for NBC Nightly News, is a freelance writer.

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