Jonathan Chait

The Left's Chance At Redemption

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In their letter to President Obama on his proposed health care summit, John Boehner and Eric Cantor ask, Will the President include in this discussion congressional Democrats who have opposed the House and Senate health care bills?

Asked and answered! Greg Sargent has it:

Republicans are hoping to use Obama’s big health care summit to pull the reform proposals to the political middle or what they’re defining as the political middle, at any rate.

But House liberals have another idea: They hope to turn the summit into a last stand of sorts, a last ditch effort to use the intense media scrutiny the event will attract to force a public debate on the core liberal priorities they’ve long hoped to include in the final bill.

“This is our one big public oppportunity to say, `We shouldn’t write an obituary for the public option and for insurance reform,’” Rep Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in an interview with me this afternoon. “On the contrary, they should be revived and taken seriously.”

The left has often played a destructive role in the health care saga, ultimately helping convince many liberals that the health care bill currently fighting for its life is a worthless compromise not worth fighting for. But this is a potentially positive role. On many issues, Obama and the Senate Democrats have given ground to the right and gained zero credit for it in the center. It's useful to have some demonstration of just how centrist Obama's plan is.

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