Today Adam Green, founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee went on MSNBC's The Ed Show and just brought change! To math! You see, Adam Green and his PCCC has been going around viciously attacking good, progressive Democrats like Dick Durbin.
Adam and his group have been pushing Senators to go on record about whether they support a public health insurance option in a reconciliation bill. It's important to make the distinction between plain old support for a public option, and the support for it in reconciliation, which works under different rules in the Senate and can only make narrow changes to law. So you need a vote count of how many Senators think it should be included under reconciliation, not just how many think it's good policy.
The PCCC has been keeping track of those commitments (which stems from a letter signed by far fewer Senators actually asking for it to be included in reconciliation). As of earlier today, they had 41 commitments, a little more than half of which are actual signatures on the letter and a bit less than half are on-the-record commitments to vote for the public option if it is included in reconciliation.
Obviously, time is of the essence in the current health reform process, and as you can see, 41 is not 51, the number of votes that would be needed even if the public option could be put under reconciliation. So what is Adam Green to do? Of course, change the math in the middle of the counting! He went on MSNBC and rattled off a bunch of names of Senators who fit into three categories:
- On the record supporting the public option (but not specifically under reconciliation)
- Have said they are for it (once again, in general, not necessarily specifically under reconciliation) but they are concerned it would affect the chances of overall reform - the viability question.
- Would never ever ever vote against the public option under reconciliation if it came down to their vote on the final final bill. Never ever ever. Adam Green promises.
- Kay Hagan - 2
- Claire McKaskill - 1
- Tom Harkin - 2
- Jay Rockefeller - 2, 3
- Herb Kole - 2, 3
- Mark Begich - 1 (obviously, otherwise Adam would have counted him on his current list on Whip Congress), 3
- Max Baucus - 1, 2, 3
- Mark Warner - 1, 3
- Jim Webb - 1, 3
- Robert Byrd - 3 (Ted Kennedy's best friend)
Let's take category 3 first. The ones who wouldn't vote against the final final bill never ever ever if it comes down to their vote would only even work if their vote were the make-or-break vote. Then there can't be 7 Senators in that category when you are working with the bare minimum (51). And of course, Adam Green is purely speculating on whether they would vote against it under reconciliation procedure (and there is a good change they will to uphold what they think the rules say, not what the policy says), without any on-the-record evidence.
The Senators who are concerned on the viability concern, they do not have any indication that the public option in reconciliation is any more viable today than it was yesterday. In fact, the "viability" number in this case may well be 60 and not 50, given the constraints of the reconciliation procedure.
Lastly, it's just plain ignorant (or worse, intellectually dishonest) to claim that anyone on the record supporting a public option under normal procedure thinks it fits under the rules of reconciliation. That is simply not the case. Claiming it to be the case is dishonest and wrong.
And this is the type of garbage he is using to "update" Whip Congress (watch the change in language - "commitments" to "likely"). With friends like these... never mind.