IF IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT…. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) perspective on health care reform and a public option has long been confusing. Her opposition to a public plan, for example, seems to be based on bizarre reasons, and she’s said things to suggest she doesn’t really understand precisely what the public option even is.

In October, Landrieu said polls showing strong public support for the idea don’t matter because a public option might “force the government to go bankrupt” — an assertion that was completely incoherent.

Complicating matters further, Landrieu signaled her support for a “competitive community option” — whatever that is — just so long as there’s “a trigger.”

And now, Landrieu would have us believe the public option isn’t really all that important anyway.

“This might be the most important political compromise to be reached, but substantively, there are far more important issues.”

So why, if it’s such a minor issue, are several Democrats threatening to filibuster the bill if it’s not removed or weakened?

“Because we have basically sort of, I think, responded to this public relations campaign waged so fiercely on both sides,” Landrieu said. “But thankfully, as we have responded to this, that has grown up around us, we have also stayed focused on some of the more substantive issues.”

I don’t know what this means. If the public option isn’t one of the more “important” issues, and there are “more substantive” concerns, maybe Landrieu shouldn’t have threatened to kill health care reform if some consumers got to choose between competing public and private plans.

That’s not the “public relations campaign’s” fault; that’s her fault.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.