As the health care fight drags on, folks on every side (and there are far more than two) have tended towards some hysteria. I just heard Sam Stein, of the Huffington Post, call Congressman Kucinich the "Ralph Nader of health care" because he refuses to vote for a health care bill without a public option.
Let us examine this and pretend, for a moment, that it has some shred of a correlation to reality.
Congressman Kucinich tends to represent to very left of the Democratic Party. He voted against the Patriot Act (every time):
And the Iraq war (authorization and funding).
We can go on and on, on every issue. On health care, he has pushed for single payer.
That is incredibly important to keep in mind.
When Congressman Kucinich supports reform with a modest, at best, public option, that is a compromise. That is a big compromise and demonstrates some realism, if you will. Several progressives have made that point, including folks you would not call radical lefties like Congresswoman Donna Edwards:
The Congresswoman makes the point that the public has embraced the public option. So when Congressman Dennis Kucinich holds out for the public option, he is holding out for the most popular section of the bill that has done more to energize the progressive base than any other section.
To come back to my original point, it is hysteria to call someone the "Ralph Nader of health care" because he chooses to hold strong for a public option. There are many reasons you could call Congressman Dennis Kucinich the "Ralph Nader" of any number of issues (although the "Kucinich of _____" is fitting enough), but this is so far from being one. Seriously folks, what do progressives have to do to convince people that the push for a public option is part of a very significant political philosophy? This is not some minor section of the bill to many folks, regardless of how often they are told by "more reasoned minds" that it is. And it is certainly far from extreme to hold out for the public option.