One by one, the “kill the bill” Democrats (myself included) have walked back from the precipice, deciding that dumping the president this early in his term would take the party down in a giant, ugly cataclysm of electoral failure, leaving Republicans free to take over Washington, repeal Medicare, privatize Social Security, impeach Barack Obama (they’ll come up with the crime later), reinstate torture, and maybe even invade Iran. Well, ok maybe it’s not that dire (yet) but anti-mandate liberals are definitely walking back, including Howard Dean, Keith Olbermann, Markos Moulitsas and now, Dennis Kucinich, who announced this morning that indeed he will vote for the reconciliation bill, even without the public option. Watch:
…to which the ever-mannerly Obama says, “thank you.” This is an important move for Kucinich, who takes a potential primary issue off the table (clearly, he didn’t have the stomach to become the Ralph Nader of helathcare.) And it gets Mother Nancy one step closer to 216, and maybe more, since Kucinich’s switch will provide cover for other liberal House members who might have held out for the public option. FDL’s whip count has it razor close, but a go if no other Dems switch to “no.”
UPDATE: Jane Hamsher of FDL is not amused, and reports that Kucinich will return money raised for Democrats including him who pledged to vote against any bill without a public option.
UPDATE 2: Kucinich’s flip-flop may have also gotten him off MoveOn’s target list.