Uh oh. Sen. Dick Durbin has deeply angered his base by reneging on his promise to vote for a "public option" in the health bill. Here's the Roll Call story explaining why his betrayal of his left wing supporters is necessary:
Senate Democratic leaders are concerned about the amount of mischief their own Members could create if or when a health care reconciliation bill comes up for debate. And sources said some supporters of creating a public insurance option are privately worried that they will be asked to vote against the idea during debate on the bill, which could occur before March 26.
Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged Wednesday that liberals may be asked to oppose any amendment, including one creating a public option, to ensure a smooth ride for the bill. "We have to tell people, 'You just have to swallow hard' and say that putting an amendment on this is either going to stop it or slow it down, and we just can't let it happen," Durbin, who supports a public option, told reporters.
The complexities of the parliamentary prestidigitation required to get this legislation past public opposition have boxed in Durbin. His betrayal of his promise doesn't surprise those of us in Illinois, who have long watched as his principles are blown down by his expediency. The hard left of the Democratic Party always is surprised to learn that when he represented a Downstate (i.e. rural) congressional district, he was pro-life. When he ran for the Senate, in the Blue State, he saw the light and became pro-choice. Before he supported O'Hare Airport Expansion he was against it.