Steve McMahon, the resident "Democratic strategist" on Hardball who routinely debates that hairless former McCain staffer, was on with Chris Matthews tonight doing an excellent job echoing the centrist, moderate Democratic horseshit line on the public option.

Which is, of course, to paint the public option as far-left and "controversial." In fact, he actually called it that. Let's take a look at how controversial the public plan actually is.

A poll from January via Greg Sargent:

While recent polling has shown consistent broad support for comprehensive health care reform, this poll specifically addressed whether people want a choice of a public health insurance plan. 73% of voters want a choice of a private or public health insurance plan, including Democrats (77%), Independents (79%), and Republicans (63%).

Hmm. 63 percent support from Republicans. Controversial!

Next, from April:

Washington DC—A new poll released today by Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, shows that 66 percent of Americans support having the option of a public health insurance plan as part of health care reform. This public plan would give everyone – insured and uninsured – the option of a plan that is more affordable, with no preexisting conditions, has a consistent menu of benefits, and is always available. A clear majority across all demographic sectors supported creating a public plan.

A clear majority across all demographic sectors. Controversial! Avoid! Avoid!

What about a poll conducted by an actual health insurance provider, Kaiser Health:

...about two-thirds (67%) of U.S. residents "strongly" or "somewhat" favor establishing a public health insurance option "similar to Medicare," with about 80% of Democrats, 60% of independents and 49% of Republicans in favor of such a plan.

IEEEEE! Third rail!

Matthews, wisely, admitted prior to McMahon's obviously paid spin that McMahon's clients include health insurers. So why, then, was he invited onto the show given his obvious conflict of interest? MSNBC has to answer for this. They're passing off a paid shill as an expert commentator.

Speaking of which, McMahon said that is President Obama abandons the public option and strives for 80 votes in the Senate, "everyone will be happy." By "everyone," McMahon clearly means his awful clients.