RNC Chairman Michael Steele was on CNN’s The Situation Room today, where when confronted with the new Washington Post poll numbers that show a majority of Americans support the public option, he admitted that the idea is popular. He tried to falsely equate the public option with government run healthcare.
Here is the video courtesy of Daily KosTV:
When host Wolf Blitzer asked Steele about the Washington Post poll numbers he answered, “Well, you know, I appreciate that, I don’t necessarily trust that number. If you look at the question, and what they’re asking, it kind of lends itself to a “yes” for the public option. So, I’ll take that at face value, Wolf, and give the Washington Post its due on that point. What I then look at is the subsequent tabs and the subsequent questions in which a majority of the people – 60 some percent – are saying they don’t want a government-controlled system, they are upset about the taxes, they have real concern about the spending. So when you juxtapose those two together, I think you come to a different place on where the folks are on the public option. Yeah, we like the idea of it, but the reality of it is going to be something very different.”
Steele did a fine job of summing up his party’s position on the public option. They don’t care if it is popular. The Republican Party is opposed to a public option for political and ideological reasons, so the American people can want it all they want, he and the RNC aren’t going to support it.
However, more Republicans are going beyond what Steele said today. Some Republicans, like Newt Gingrich are talking about repealing the public option after it passes. As the support for a public option grows, some Republicans are hoping that they can use this as a campaign issue in the next two elections.
The political reality here is that the only way that healthcare reform passes without some form of a public option is if Senate Democrats split on the bill. This outcome of healthcare has nothing to do with the Republicans. It will be the Democrats who decide whether or not the final bill contains a public option, and it is a pretty safe bet that some variation of the public option will be passed into law.