Friday, October 23, 2009

Major Liberal Groups Demand Obama Take Strong Stand On The Public Option

From the Plum Line:

In recent weeks, liberal groups have largely refrained from directly pressuring the White House on the public option — even as there’s been lots of grumbling behind the scenes that Rahm Emanuel is the leading force within the White House trying to trade it away in exchange for compromise.

No longer. A coalition of liberal groups is now openly calling out the White House, demanding it take a “stronger stand” in support of a robust public option — and in an unusual move, the letter is specifically targeting Rahm and demanding he make it happen.

A source sends over a letter signed by several dozen leading liberal groups — including MoveOn, the Campaign for America’s Future, the American Federation of Government Employees, the NAACP, the Progressive Congress Action Fund — that will be sent to the White House today:

Dear Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel:

We, the undersigned alliance for a robust public option, write to request that President Obama heed the will of the people and the organized progressive grassroots and take a strong leadership position in support of a robust public option. The public has spoken and the majority of members of Congress have spoken: Health care reform must include a robust public option…

The House has shown leadership by moving forward health care reform that includes a robust public option. We respectfully ask that the Office of the President take a stronger stand on a robust public option in order to enact true health care reform this year. We request a meeting with you at your earliest opportunity to further discuss this matter

That’s pretty confrontational; it’s questioning Obama’s commitment to the public option and demanding that he show stronger leadership. The decision to call out Rahm is also suggestive, since he is widely seen on the left as the main voice within the White House pushing to trade away core liberal principles for moderate support and calling on liberal groups to refrain from training fire on their own.

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