The Blue Dog coalition has 52 members, 38 of whom voted against the House health-care bill (the 39th Dem nay came from Dennis Kucinich). The House Progressive Caucus has 83 members, 64 of whom have pledged to vote against any bill that lacks a strong public option. Let’s say the absence of a public option wins the votes of all 38 Blue Dogs. The Democrats could then only afford to lose 40 of the 64 progressives who said they wouldn’t vote for such a bill, and both co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus have fired shots across the Senate’s bow indicating that such defections are not just possible but likely. Pelosi has been pretty good so far at getting the votes she needs, but the math looks encouraging, and that’s before factoring in abortion, taxes, and other differences in the Reid legislation that might fracture the coalition that passed the House bill.
Update: Jane Hamsher, the left-wing blogger who launched the campaign against Hadassah Lieberman, has posted a series of videos of Progressive Caucus members swearing up and down that they won’t vote for any bill that doesn’t include a public option. She also runs a website called Public Option Please that recently sponsored an art contest. How creepy is the winning entry?