You remember "The public option?" Paul Krugman's (and others') line-in-the-sand essential as the sine qua non of health care reform, the defining mark of earnest liberalism? Sure you do. Now shift the spotlight to the Ashland (OR) Shakespeare Festival whose audience, I have always thought, harbors a larger cohort of earnest liberals than anything this side of an NPR Tote Bag Swap Meet. And in particular, focus on that performance of The Imaginary Invalid, which I wrote about a few minutes ago. Did I mention the topical jokes? No? Well among other design features, I could have mentioned the topical jokes. Viagra jokes, that sort of thing. My instinct is that topical jokes never go over as well as the director seems to have hoped they would Still, in particular I was surprised when someone on the stage cracked a joke that ended with "public option," and got booed. Not loud, not by everybody, but insistent and unmistakable. Or if you thought you did mistake it, you could have waited another few minutes until again they threw in the line "public option," and got booed again.
I should think the public option would be as popular with this crowd as white robes with the Vatican. If they can't make it here, either I had better rethink my perception of all these gentle geezers in the audience, or else all the earnest liberals had better rethink their line in the sand.