Howard Dean threatens primary challenges on public option 'no' votes.

The former chair of the DNC – apparently, they finally let him come back from American Samoa – very much wants there to be a public option in the health care rationing bill, and he’s willing to help launch revenge attacks against Democrats who might stop him from getting it:

Former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean fired one of the clearest warning shots at hesitant Democratic lawmakers on Thursday, insisting that if the party was unable to produce a health care bill with a public plan, there would be electoral consequences.

“I do think there will be primaries as the result of all this, if the bill doesn’t pass with a public option,” Dean said, in a phone interview with the Huffington Post.

…because, of course, the way to keep Democrats in Republican seats is to punish them for voting as per their constituents’ wishes. You can argue all you like about whether these numbers reflect the national mood on the public option, but I can tell you this: they definitely represent the mood of the Republican / conservative portion of it. I can also tell you this: darn few people in (say) IL-11 are going to base their voting strategies around what the people in either IL-10 or IL-12 think about a particular topic, so national mood doesn’t signify. All of which leads to the observation that voting for a public option will guarantee a strong challenge for a lot of Democratic interlopers.

In other words, these folks are going to face either a vicious primary or a grinding general election – but they’re not going to be able to avoid both. I’ve tentatively tagged this situation as being Specter’s Political Specter: but I think that might be a little too cutesy. Opinions?

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.