This is the correct answer to the bleating of Joe Lieberman, and Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson. If you don't want to be a part of the most critical domestic policy reform in generations, we can always do it without you.
"Sure, it's always an option," Reid said after leaving his press conference Monday, when he announced that he'd be pushing forward with a public health insurance option with an opt-out provision that would give states the right not to participate....
Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is in charge of corralling and counting votes, also said that reconciliation is still being considered. "The failsafe on this is reconciliation," Durbin said. "I hope we don't reach it because you can only do a limited amount of things on reconciliation."
Reid's comments were from Monday, before Joe put on his show, which could mean that Reid's now definitely put it on the table. I spoke with Sen. Schumer yesterday before the Lieberman announcement, and asked him about reconciliation, which he declined to say was completely off the table, but said,
I think the broad preference is not to do reconciliation, and if we can stay unified on the major procedural votes and get 60 on those we won't need reconciliation. Reconciliation is always a last resort because it's complicated.... so the preference has always been to go forward without it, and again, if we can stay unified on the procedural votes, we'll accomplish that.
So if it looks like the procedural votes might not go their way, the threat over the hold-outs to be left out of the process remains.
To bring it back to the reality of what a Democrat not voting to reform our nation's healthcare system means, sardine says it best over at Atrios's place.
Dear fence-sitters (aka Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu et al),
Forget all the talk about the public option for a second and ignore your political consultants who are cautioning you about the imaginary negative repercussions of a "government takeover." The reality is this debate really isn’t about politics, it’s about health care. It’s not left or right, it’s about all of us.
People need help. They can’t afford their health care bills. People are dying. The crazy health care expenses are hurting businesses. Please don’t turn your back on these people. If you join with the Republicans and block health care reform, you’re basically saying to the American people – go fuck yourselves.
Reid has the option of forcing these guys to do just that, to make them tell the American people they really just don't give a damn about them. That's a very powerful card he holds.
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