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Senator Grassley Confirms the Schakowsky Video Was a Key Moment in Reform

John on April 22, 2010 at 9:16 am

Back in December (2009), Nate Silver wrote a post suggesting that the Public Option was a no-go from the start. He showed that opposition had coalesced by early May and never really changed.

I wrote a detailed response explaining that he’d left out one critical piece of information, i.e. the video of Jan Schakowsky which Morgen posted here on April 27th, 2009. I showed that all of the comments in opposition to the public option came after the clip had made the rounds on Capitol Hill. Circulation of the clip was confirmed by the NY Times on May 5th.

Well, here’s one more bit of evidence for our theory. It can be found in this February 25th (2010) interview Chuck Grassley did with PBS Frontline. He says the reason Congress failed to generate a bipartisan bill was because the Democrats couldn’t hold off the extremists in their own party:

They should have said, “We don’t need a public option.” They didn’t have to say they were against the public option, just needed to say that they’d sign a bill without a public option.

They should have cooperated with members of both parties that wanted to put some sort of a cap on tax deductibility of insurance policies. There should have been an effort, a more cooperative effort on their part to hold off the extreme of their party that wanted Canadian-style health insurance or a public option that one of the members from Chicago said: “Well, we can’t do a Canadian-style system right now. We’ve got to do a public option, because it’s a step toward it.”

It led everybody to believe in this country that there were people in Washington not listening to the grassroots, that wanted the government to take over health care. And they didn’t do enough to quash that.

Grassley doesn’t name the member form Chicago, but I think it’s a safe bet he’s talking about Jan Schakowsky. I’m not convinced it played a decisive role in the rise of the tea parties or the election of Scott Brown, but it certainly seems to have been a touchstone for the opposition to the public option.

Just wanted to note this for posterity, though it’s something we’ve believed to be true for a while now. We lost the war (at least for the moment) but we did win this important battle.

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Category: Health & Education |

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