Harry Reid and the Public Option

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Ezra Klein explains why Harry Reid is reluctant to publicly give the public option his full support:

Caucus politics present another dilemma: The public option died due to the opposition of Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Lieberman and a handful of other conservative — and vulnerable — Democrats. Reid cut a deal with them, and they signed onto the final product. For many, that was a big political risk. The price was letting them say they killed the public option. Bringing it back to the bill will mean they voted for a bill that ended up including something they’d promised their constituents they’d killed. Cross them on this and you’ve lost their trust — and thus their votes — in the future.

My guess is that this is a much bigger deal than a lot of people think. Centrist Dems may be wrong to feel that the public option is a threat, but nonetheless they feel like they made a deal. For good or ill, no political leader can afford to renege on something like that. Not if he wants to stay leader, anyway.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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