Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein, two of the unofficial leaders of the D.C. blogosphere and celebrities to nerds like myself in the metro area, point out that HHS Sec. Sibelius’s discouraging statements on the public option isn’t exactly a change in administration policy. That would be all well in good if we were actually engaged in a policy debate on health care, but we’re not. With all the absurdities that pass for discourse on this issue, carefully worded policy statements aren’t going to cut it. I understand the desire not to sink to their level, but that’s pretty difficult considering the current system actually does all the horrible shit the conservatives claim reforms would. The current system will kill grandma if she doesn’t have the cash and no insurance executive will shed a tear. The two sides aren’t equivalent. Being respectable and policy-minded is important, but not as important as winning this fight and if our bloggers won’t hold the standard, then who will?
Anything less than a full-throated defense of the public option at this point is the bell’s toll. This is why it’s so worrisome to watch the public option narrative go from being central to marginal, with those on the left trying to make less of a big deal about it while the right keeps hammering away. When Paul Krugman starts to hedge, then you know we’re in serious trouble. If the right were attacking on policy grounds then I’d have no objection to a nuanced statement from Sibelius, but they’re not. I know Gibbs hedged on Sibelius’s hedging, but hedging of any sort ain’t gonna get it done. The president is doing the rhetorical equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight. It makes me wonder if it’s a fight he even wants to win.
On another note, I’m trying to bring a little more imagery/sound to this blog, so here’s what I was listening to while writing this post. Also, I’m considering changing the name of the blog to the title of this song provided I can make it work technically and there isn’t substantial reader outcry. I’m not sure if I’ve passed the point of no return on blog branding at this point, but I think WCAL would make a great acronym and it is a fantastic song. And how I feel about most things.