I see over at ABC News's "The Note" that Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is the latest lawmaker to preemptively and falsely assign blame for the failure to get health care reform passed:
David Plouffe, now current and former campaign guru, to ABC's Jake Tapper on "GMA" Monday: "The health care plan has become a caricature. And if we walk away from it now, everyone who supported it is going to have all of the downside and none of the upside."
Unless it's time for the president to pick up the fight: "I want him to issue a call to arms... A lot of us are waiting for him to join the fray and lead the fight," Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., told Tapper.
Or re-think it all, post health care: "I think he's allowed the left wing to pull him too much in that direction," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but while there may be some issues or policies on which President Obama has tacked to the left, health care is decidedly not one of them. Since the debate started, the policy has shifted evermore toward the center-right of the spectrum. Back on the November 8 edition of Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson noted that the reform bill was making a slow and steady march to the center, and that this shift was keeping the measure alive:
LIASSON: I think we're one step closer to getting [health care reform]. This thing has moved forward step by difficult step. I think what's interesting is that every step of the way, it has gotten slightly more centrist. What Nancy Pelosi had to do to get the votes -- and she lost 39 democrats -- she had to move the bill to the center on the public option and in the final fight on abortion, because I think in the end, and you saw this on the vote in the house, that liberals held their nose, voted for the bill.
That's pretty much exactly right. If anything, the "left wing" has been astonishingly accommodating to President Obama. Far from exerting some sort of gravitational pull on the policy, they have ceded ground at every step. Glenn Greenwald drives this point home, thusly:
In what universe must someone be living to believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by "the Left," let alone "the furthest left elements" of the Party? As Ezra Klein says, the Left "ha[s] gotten exactly nothing they wanted in recent months." The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion -- only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry.
I'm not sure if Senator Nelson really doesn't understand much about contemporary politics, or that he just wants people to think he's painfully naive, but either way I'm really embarrassed for him. Anyway, if health care reform fails to pass, someone else is going to have to ultimately own the failure.