I got an email from CREDO Action this morning that has me fuming. I am generally a supporter of theirs and I have signed damn nearly every petition they have ever asked me to. I had even advised my mother to switch to Credo Mobile when her contract with AT&T runs out in approximately six months. But this most recent petition they are circulating calling the President a loser is disgusting and deplorable. There are so many things wrong with this "action," I don't even know where to start. So let's start at the beginning.
If President Obama thinks that some of the senators who've claimed in the past to support the public option have changed their minds, he should start naming names and tell us who they are.
Where do you even start with this? I have explained over and over again that a senator's support for the public option as policy does not automatically imply their support for the public option in reconciliation. Reconciliation is a budgetary, narrow, restricted process and in addition to the Senators who oppose the public option on a policy ground, some senators oppose it under reconciliation on a process ground. Big ticket health care reform items - and Credo will argue that the public option for them is the biggest ticket reform item - are unlikely to move through reconciliation. Only budgetary changes to the already existing programs are good candidates for reconciliation.

But if Credo wants an example, I will give them one. The author of the robust public option in the Senate, Jay Rockefeller. Jay Rockefeller is not for pursuing the public option in reconciliation. I will give you another name. Chairman of the Senate HELP committee, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a lifelong champion of health care as a right for every American, Tom Harkin. Harkin believes, and Washington Post's Ezra Klein has confirmed in numerous occasions that the resurgence of the public option in reconciliation is not good news for overall comprehensive health care reform.

So, here is my question for Credo - what do you plan on doing with these people? Fund a primary challenge against Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller? Get your act together, Credo!

Then they go out on a limb (joining Adam Green) calling the President a loser:
Just because the White House has given up and adopted a loser mentality, it doesn't mean we have to go along with it.
A "loser mentality?" Let me tell you what a loser mentality is. A loser mentality is pursuing a path that makes health reform less likely to pass. A loser mentality is clawing your way onto a chalkboard and risk blowing up the volatile final process in getting health reform finally passed just because your favorite thing didn't make it onto the list. A loser mentality refusing to understand that if overall reform could be passed through reconciliation, painstaking negotiations in the Senate last year would have been unnecessary. A loser mentality is throwing stones at the Democratic White House when it is finally getting deeply involved in moving forward what will be the biggest expansion of social safety net since Medicare. A loser mentality is throwing monkey wrenches into the process and refusing to even admit it.

Then to be sure to stir up anger from people, they throw in this logical fallacy that has been used ad infinitum by the "public option or nothing" crowd:
Our polling shows that the public option remains overwhelmingly popular in state after state. It also shows that the version of health care reform passed by the Senate, which doesn't include a public option, is very unpopular.
I'm sure your polling does show that. It's also true. What is logical fallacy of epic proportions is to assume that if a popular provision is included in a bill that is unpopular (thanks to a year of teabagger and right wing framing), then suddenly, the bill will become popular. Bah-loh-ney. I wrote about this specifically a couple of weeks ago. There are plenty of provisions included in the legislation that are far more popular than the public option. At the risk of repeating myself:

In October, a Washington Post/ABC News poll put support for the public optionat 57%, A Reuters poll in December put it at almost 60% and most proponents agree that the support for public option is nearly 60 percent nationwide. The Kaiser Family Foundation found in its polls from February 2010:
  • 91 percent support banning pre-existing conditions and annual and lifetime benefits limits
  • 76 percent support reforming the way health insurance works
  • 72 percent support tax credits for small businesses
  • 71 percent support creating a health insurance exchange/marketplace
  • 71 percent support helping close the Medicare "donut hole"
  • 70 percent support expanding high risk insurance pools
  • 68 percent support providing financial help for low-/middle-income people
Despite all these wildly popular provisions already being included in the current bill, the sharp divide and relative unpopularity of the overall legislation continues. Why? Two reasons. First, Americans are scared by the right, and tired of the process. They are mad at Congress being broken, and that's legitimate. Second, as Nate Silver has demonstrated, the popularity problem that health reform faces is not due to its provisions but due to the lack of awareness of its provisions (especially the good ones).

This is also unequivocal proof that mere addition of a popular provision will not make the bill more popular. However, in my judgment, passing comprehensive legislation, finally bringing the process to a close, achieving reform with the President's signature are what is likely to make it more popular. Americans often warm to social safety-net legislation after it passes.

The proposal on the table now is a great foundation for reform, and we will keep fighting to add things to it later. But let's please stop calling the President a loser and claiming that dropping a popular provision in a bill will make it more popular.

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