Russ Feingold blamed the death of the public option in part on a “lack of support” from the White House, which made passing the option “an uphill struggle.” But Nate Silver isn’t sure there’s much Obama could have done. “I think the defeat of the public option was a fairly robust outcome,” he writes on FiveThirtyEight.com. The public option had 3-4 strong no votes, even before Joe Lieberman’s treachery put a stake in its heart.
So at the last minute, no, there’s very little the White House could have done to save the bill. That said, you can make a good case that early on, Obama “overlearned the lessons of the Clintons” by being too hands-off with the legislation. And if nothing else, he certainly did a poor job preparing liberals to support an option-less bill. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)