Obama would like, but doesn't need, Republican votes to achieve his goal. But seven conservative Democratic senators -- led by Max Baucus (Mont.) and including Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Arlen Specter (Pa.) -- oppose the public option as well. So by shilling for the insurance industry, they've made it thus far impossible for Obama to take advantage of the Democrats' majority in the Senate.This statement is simply false. It is true that Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson have said they are likely to oppose a public option (although Nelson is technically open to the idea). Reporting also indicates that Kent Conrad does not like the idea. But Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, and Arlen Specter have all publicly and repeatedly stated that they support a public option.
Max Baucus's original health care reform proposal that he wrote earlier this year included a robust public option. Even a few weeks ago he told Montanan Democrats that he supported a public option.
Jeff Bingaman has repeatedly said that he supports a public option. He even voted for Senate HELP committee bill which includes a public option.
Arlen Specter has been promoting his support for a public option every chance he can get now that he faces a Democratic primary challenger.
Baucus, Bingaman, and Specter have not drawn a line in the sand on the issue of the public option. All three would not vote against health care reform simply because it doesn't include public option. They would all being willing to negotiate on the issue of a public option in exchange for the broad support needed to pass health care reform through regular order.
Being willing to vote for reform without a public option is completely different than opposing a public option. Either the three senators told the Washington Post that they have been repeatedly lying to their constituents, or the Washington Post should print a retraction.