Now that the White House is “signaling publicly” that it’s “ready to take charge of the health care debate,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos offers this dose of hardy centrist conventionalism:
Here are the five key sets of questions they have to confront, both in the Roosevelt Room and in their consultations with Congress:
1 – What is “death with dignity” for the public option? Is it better for the president to sacrifice it himself? Or convince Democratic leaders behind closed doors to come to him? Some will argue for taking the public option issue to the floor, passing it through the House and sacrificing it in conference – but once you’ve gone that far, it may be impossible for House Democrats to back down. So, giving it up on the front end in some fashion is likely the preferred option.
While the politics of the public option are obviously complex, the conventional Washington wisdom surrounding the process and means for achieving health reform is infuriating. Here, Stephanopoulos strategizes the different ways in which Democrats could abandon the President’s signature campaign issue, the most popular and one of the more important element of health care reform and the one “sliver” that has energized the President’s liberal base.
Stephanopoulos believes that rather than fight and defend good policy from the lies and smears of the right and find ways to push the option through, the administration should just give up and move to the center. After all, pleasing American “moderates” and conservatives, and of course the very actors — private health insurers — who have made reform so necessary in the first place, is the key to good politics.
This is Washington centrism at its finest and it mostly applies to Democrats.