Commentary Magazine



It wasn’t even close:

The Senate Finance Committee voted down a government-run “public option” as part an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system Tuesday, rejecting the first of two amendments offered by Democrats.

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and four other Democrats sided with Republicans in opposing a public-option amendment offered by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). Baucus said he voted against the politically volatile provision because he feared that a bill including it would not get the 60 votes it would need to pass on the Senate floor. The committee voted 15 to 8 to reject the amendment.

The president spoke out in favor of a public option weeks ago during his game-changing speech before Congress—a speech that changed nothing. It took three weeks for the Senate to do what the president should have done—finally get the public option off the table. That there was so little support in the end vividly demonstrates how far Left the House and the White House have lunged in this debate. And as is the case more often than not these days, the president is a spectator, not a dealmaker.