October 22, 2009

Rep. Anthony Weiner did his usual stellar job being the progressive voice on health care yesterday on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. In typical Villager fashion, Matthews want to paint the public option as the "ultra liberal" position on health care, and Weiner helped set him straight:

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. What percentage, do you think, of Democrats in this country are liberals and what percent are moderates?

WEINER: I have no idea. I think...

MATTHEWS: Do you think most are liberals.

WEINER: I have to say...

MATTHEWS: Do you think most are liberals?

WEINER: No, here's what I think. I think when it comes to health care, the moderate position is choice and competition. I don't believe the public option is the liberal position. The liberal position is what I have, single payer for all Americans. This is the compromise position.

Of course, the whole point of painting the public option as the "far left" position is that, in Villagespeak, the liberal position is always doomed to being compromised by "centrist" Democrats. Which was the upshot of Matthews' interview -- namely, that liberals should be prepared to give up the public option to appease "centrists" in their own party.

Weiner had the perfect answer to that tripe:

WEINER: I think that we need to make the argument to my Democratic friends that this is an all-or-nothing strategy for us as Democrats. We run the country right now...


WEINER: ... House, Senate and the presidency.


WEINER: And if we can't do this (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: I've been talking around the Hill, talking to staffers and some members, and I've gotten to the point of disbelief. A lot of people like you believe that in the end, no good Democrat from wherever they are in the country is willing to be the man or woman who brings down the president's number one political ambition for this year, health care. And in the end, you folks believe that there'll be such tremendous pressure on all the Democrats, Nebraska, North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, they'll still have to vote with the party. Do you believe that?

WEINER: Well, let me...

MATTHEWS: Do you believe that?

WEINER: Let me say yes but phrase it a different way. There's a divide here. Some people think a watered-down health care plan could be a success for us. Some, like myself, believe if we don't get this right...


WEINER: ... we're not going to get another chance for 20 years.

MATTHEWS: You're a good spokesman. Thank you, sir.

Blanche Lincoln, we hope you're listening.

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