I was on Rachel Maddow last night talking about Harry Reid’s announcement that a health care bill might not pass until next year, and the White House response that they still wanted it in 2009.

Why is this happening?  Pure guess:  White House and Reid argue about who’s going to take the heat for ditching the public option.  Reid decides the price is too high to have that tin can tied to his tail, and goes with the opt-out.  White House says “good luck with that, don’t look to us to whip for you,” and Reid says “okay, hope you don’t need a bill this year.”   The White House starts releasing statements reassuring everyone it’ll be done soon because after all, Rahm wants his “w.”

The President has been meeting with ConservaDems, but no telling what he’s asking them for.  Sounds like a big game of chicken.

Meanwhile, Reid says:

The liberal blog Firedoglake.com said it was calling thousands of Nevada Democrats, urging them to support an opponent in the Democratic primary if Reid does not force a Senate vote on strong government-run coverage.

“I’m not aware of them,” Reid said when asked in a brief interview about pressure tactics aimed at him. “I don’t read blogs, I don’t listen to talk radio, I don’t watch cable TV.”

Oh, really?

FWIW, while I thought that letting the Blue Dogs stall through “teabag August” was bad for the public option, I don’t think that’s the case any more.  And there are other bad parts of the bill — like Anna Eshoo’s PhRMA giveaway — that need time to gestate in the public consciousness in order to reach critical mass.  I actually think time is more on our side than not now.

After yesterday’s poor Democratic turnout, nervous Dems are going to want to be reassured that labor will turn out for them, so the White House will start getting pressure from the caucus to move EFCA.  Which they don’t want to do until health care is over.  And then they’ve promised to deal with immigration. They want to clear the decks and pass nothing but feel good stuff starting early in the new year in anticipation of the midterm, so the pressure will be on the White House to start twisting ConservaDem arms to get health care passed — while we keep whipping progressives to hold their firewall.