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Glen Greenwald is warning us to have our wits about us in the fight for the best health care reform possible.

Dick Durbin's office told us today that the Senate Leadership will be aggressively whipping FOR the public option ... if it is included in the reconciliation bill the House sends over.

Of course, Nancy Pelosi told us the final bill will not include a public option. And just the other day, Durbin suggested that he would start asking senators to oppose a public option to ensure a smooth ride for the bill.

Greenwald is telling us not to trust Durbin. While I wouldn't go that far, I do have another piece of advice: keep pushing the senate for an up or down vote.

Greenwald lays out his argument:

All year long, they insisted that the White House and a majority of Democratic Senators vigorously supported a public option, but the only thing oh-so-unfortunately preventing its enactment was the filibuster:  sadly, we have 50 but not 60 votes for it, they insisted.

True. But now we have reconciliation. We had 50 easy votes for a public option back in November, and the house almost passed a more robust version of the public option. This is totally doable, right?


As soon as it actually became possible to pass it, the 50 votes magically vanished.  Senate Democrats (and the White House) were willing to pretend they supported a public option only as long as it was impossible to pass it.  Once reconciliation gave them the opportunity they claimed all year long they needed -- a "majority rule" system -- they began concocting ways to ensure that it lacked 50 votes.

Take this statement from a former public option supporter:

I'm probably not going to vote for that, although I'm strongly for the public option, because I think it creates, at a time when we really need as much bipartisan[ship] ... as possible.

How much do you want to bet that we get a single Republican vote on this bill?

We've passed the 40 vote mark. The brave souls have already stepped forward. We're hitting the critical mass where a few Democratic senators could jump on and make this a reality.

A few days ago, Durbin was ready to whip against a public option. Now he's suddenly saying that ">it's up to the house.

The house is not the bottleneck. The house could easily pass even a watered down version of the public option if it were up to them. Everyone knows that the ball has been in the senate's court.

I know shit all about organizing a campaign. And I'm not going to accuse Durbin of acting in bad faith. (Maybe he's just scared.) But I know that if you want to win a game, you don't take your eye off the ball.

Let's keep at least one eye on the senate.

Originally posted to danthrax on Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 11:51 AM PST.

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