The August 3/10 edition of The Nation says:

I asked University of North Carolina political scientist, Jonathan Oberland, author of The Political Life of Medicare, to grade those involved in healthcare reform on how well they’re doing to get a progressive bill, one that covers everyone and includes a public health insurance option.

Oberlander gave the White House high marks simply for creating a framework for negotiations that kept interest groups at the table and carried the process well beyond what any other administration had accomplished. While Baucus got low marks for overflexibility, he earned an A effort–he’d kept healthcare reform at the top of the Finance Committee’s agenda for months and continued to push through difficult negotiations.

But the two entities that received the highest scores were the House and the advocacy groups, who have laid an impressive foundation to pull the debate leftward. The three House committee chairmen worked together with “extraordinary unity” to propose a single bill in order to “put down a liberal marker” for a reform proposal, says Oberlander. … They are well poised to hold on to the public plan in negotiations with the Senate because the eighty-member Progressive Caucus has pledged to withhold a majority of its votes from a complromise bill that drops such a provision.

Many in Washington are surprised that the public option is still on the table–even many healthcare reform advocates aligned with the Democrats privately regaraded it from the beginning as a bargaining chip to be traded away for more obtainable objectives. Oberlander credits the advocacy groups for making it a viable option. “I think they have done a wonderful job over the past two years of putting the public plan option on the table. Without [the reform coalition] Health Care for America Now and the labor unions, I don’t think it would have a chance.”

I hope Oberlander’s praise of progressive activists will encourage you to take action, because TODAY, TUESDAY, IS NATIONAL CALL IN DAY FOR HCAN.

I had this note yesterday from Glenn Burleigh at ACORN:

As I’m sure you know the right wing and it’s AM radio advantage allow conservatives to push their talking points to millions, every day, and some of those listeners call into congressional offices, every day.  On the other hand, progressive organizing is much more based online and in the field.  Well tomorrow, Health Care for America Now! is looking to reach out to the streets and intertubes, to shut the congressional switchboard down with 50,000 calls for healthcare reform.  We may not be able to match the other side’s crankiness, but we’ve got the numbers advantage, and we’ve gotta make sure the congress critters know.

Make that call to your rep and to Senator McCaskill. Hell, call Bond just to annoy his aides.