Jon Cohn says he’s “been obsessing over the lack of passion and organization on the left,” though now feeling slightly better. I agree, but it is worth saying that this is almost 100 percent the fault of Max Baucus.
There’s a reason, after all, why the President wanted the process to be much further along at this point. And I think a big part of that reason is that it’d be much easier to get people engaged and mobilized if there was a thing “the health care bill” that people were supposed to be getting engaged and mobilized about. By contrast, those most full of passionate intensity on the other side are basically prepared to oppose reform sight unseen. But without knowing much about what the content of “reform” is or who it is who’s backing “reform” it’s hard to know what to say about it. At the moment, progressives are simultaneously trying to impact the shape of “reform” (reasonable public option, reasonably generous subsidies and minimum benefits packages) while also trying to push for “reform” to win out against the opponents of “reform.” If the various congressional leaders ever work out what “reform” is, then no matter how disappointed folks may be with some aspects of it, I’m pretty sure just about everyone will find themselves pushing for it.
But by dragging out the process of defining what the proposal is this long, congress in general—but mostly Baucus in particular—have guaranteed a sort of asymmetrical summer.