Clyburn Urges Democratic Votes To Revive Public Option

This is definitely a case of too little, too late (even if it is what I had suggested months ago). Back when there were not enough votes for the public option in the Senate due to the opposition of Republicans, one independent (Joe Lieberman), and one conservative Democrat (Ben Nelson) I suggested that the Democrats make this a campaign issue. The majority of the people (as well as majority of members of the Senate) were in favor. Make it a campaign issue and force Republicans to explain why they oppose this choice and go on the defensive. Instead the Democrats, after doing a poor job against the Republicans in the spin war, have been the ones on the defensive, desperately hoping voters won’t buy all the Republican misinformation being spread about the plan.

While most Democrats have tried to avoid discussing health care, there have been some exceptions. Majority Whip James Clyburn is even using the promise of a public option as a reason to keep the Democrats in control of Congress. The Hill reports:

Democrats could revive the public healthcare option if they maintain their majorities in Congress, the House Democrats’ third-ranking member said Friday.

“Reelect me, keep Democrats on the field. And when we come back next year, maybe we will get to the public option,” Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) said during an appearance on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Clyburn has been traveling the country and making media appearances this week in an effort to drum up lagging voter enthusiasm on the Democratic side heading into the Nov. 2 midterms.

The public healthcare option was a top prize for liberal activists during the nearly two-year long debate over healthcare reform, but it was scrapped from the final legislation after support for it fell short in the Senate.

Campaigning for issues such as the public option could gain the support of many voters. At very least it would help motivate Democratic voters to turn out. Just giving Democratic voters more reason to turn out could change the outcome. Polls show that support for each party is very close, but far more Republicans than Democrats are expected to turn out to vote.

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