Defining Reform Down
Nate Silver points out that the public option still scores well with the public, and was determined to be a cost-saver, by the CBO; but he then goes on to say that the politics may be too difficult, reconciliation may be problematic, and we may have to settle for a bill without a public option. He also comes to the absurd conclusion that passing something will activate the Democratic base, in 2010. He doesn't seem to understand that the Democratic base cares about the substance of that something, and won't be feeling particularly motivated if that something is seen to be a weak capitulation from what already was a watered down compromise. Particularly if the Democratic "leadership" is seen to have not really tried.
Big Tent Democrat has a more honest and pragmatic approach: if the public option is dropped, stop calling it health care reform. Which it really wouldn't be. Call it health care assistance. Which it would be. And then keep trying for real reform, later. The problem is that no one will go for that. Because it's too honest. Certain Democrats would prefer to take any dog of a bill they get, call it "reform," pat themselves on the back, and move on.