The public option imitates 'The Office'
Speaking of Blanche Lincoln and Arkansas, a new poll shows that 39 percent of voters support the public option and 48 percent oppose the idea. On the one hand, that could mean that Arkansas opposes the public option. On the other hand, well, I'll let Tim Fernholz explain:
The state is split because no one is offering any real leadership on the issue -- all of the Arkansas Democrats, who are mentioned in this profile, have been publicly waffling about health-care reform for months, and dropping lines like Lincoln's factually incorrect comments on the public option. Of course the public is unconvinced that this is a good alternative -- no one is explaining to them what health-care reform means. If Lincoln were to actually take a stand, she could move public opinion.
Arkansas is a conservative state and the public option is a polarized policy, so it's not crazy to believe that the state will break against the policy no matter what Democrats say. But it's also hard to imagine that the public option has much of a chance when Democrats like Mike Ross and Blanche Lincoln are casting the policy as a liberal agenda item they can't support, rather than a way to bring those awful, awful insurance companies to heel.
Voters don't know much about politics and they know even less about policy, and so many of them outsource this thinking to politicians they already trust. The problem is, politicians occasionally outsource this thinking to a prediction of what swing voters will want. Thus, the politician is against the policy because he or she thinks a certain portion of the electorate is against it and a certain portion of the electorate is against the policy because they think the politician is against it. This dynamic is making for a good “Office” plot line as both Andy and Erin thinks the other one doesn't want a date, but it's not a good way to make laws.
Photo credit: By Justin Lubin/NBC
November 17, 2009; 6:40 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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