Looks like the President is desperate to get out from under the burden of disappointing the country by failing to follow through on his campaign promises for a public option:
[S]enior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.
Because Reid doesn’t want the blame for pulling the public option out when he combines the HELP and the Finance Committee bill. He made it clear that if that if the public option made such an exit, he wanted the White House to take responsibility. He doesn’t want to hold the hot potato.
While Democrats hold majorities in both houses on paper, nailing down those majorities has not been easy — particularly in the Senate, where Democrats need a 60-vote supermajority to head off a Republican filibuster.
No, Democrats would have to join a Republican filibuster in order for it to be successful. A fine but important distinction. But they don’t want the hot potato either, so they’re not saying that they’ll do that.
[T]he White House and its congressional allies are under heavy pressure from the Democratic Party’s liberal base to breathe life back into it.
That has Democratic leaders looking for ways to insert some form of the concept into a Senate bill without jeopardizing centrist support.
To that end, Obama is lavishing attention on moderate lawmakers while he continues to talk up the public option.
…but the only arm he’s twisting is Jay Rockefeller’s, to vote for the Finance Committee bill that doesn’t have a public option.
He has met repeatedly in private with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who has floated a proposal to allow states to set up government plans as a fallback if commercial insurers do not control premiums.
You mean "triggers." Go ahead, say it, she wants to add "triggers" which Congress historically writes to assure they never kick in. Snowe isn’t on board yet, though — apparently she doesn’t want the hot potato either.
When Obama spoke by phone recently with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., he made a point of the breadth of support for the public option, the senator said in an interview. Cantwell authored a proposal to let states set up public plans that Democrats added to the Senate Finance Committee bill on Wednesday.
Cantwell’s proposal may be fine, but a public option it is not. Calling a hot potato something else is not going to make it less hot.
And at a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats last Tuesday, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., marshaled polling data that in dozens of districts represented by conservative Democrats, a majority said they would back a requirement that Americans get health insurance as long as there was a public option.
If Durbin has polling data that indicates support for the public option "in dozens of districts represented by conservative Democrats," he should release it. Because trying to jam "triggers" on people is going to produce a bill that satisfies teabaggers and insurance companies, but few Democrats. Hiding the true numbers in order to obfuscate that is deceptive and not in the public interest — and it proves that hot potato is just getting hotter.