A health care bill will still probably pass

Despite a growing revolt among liberals, despite Ben Nelson's attempt to overturn Roe vs. Wade, despite even Joe Lieberman, the Administration insists a health care bill will pass the Senate.

There is a joke making the rounds of the liberal blogosphere.

Is this what Oprah Winfrey meant when she called Barack Obama "the one?" (Image created using Nixon button from Gasoline Alley Antiques and official Presidential portrait from Whitehouse.gov.)

Despite a growing revolt among liberals, despite Ben Nelson's attempt to overturn Roe vs. Wade, despite even Joe Lieberman, the Administration insists a health care bill will pass the Senate. (Perhaps helped by the ghost of Sen. Kennedy.)

Conservatives are pleased that the debate has divided Democrats into two camps -- those who don't like the bill and those who hate it enough to kill it and give Republicans the victory.

There are signs some liberals are already starting to back-track from their threats. David Axelrod is trying to get the bloggers in line. Some of their heroes, like Al Franken, are fighting hard for the bill. Others, like Paul Krugman, are pounding the table for ayes.

Even some of the conditions Howard Dean laid down for an acceptable bill, like state-based health exchanges, might be met.

The real political news is that bloggers suddenly realize their wing of the Democratic Party did not win the last election, that the President will continue to triangulate in order to move forward, and thus they need to get busy for what they want, supporting causes over candidates.

That could close the current enthusiasm gap between the parties. (Maybe they could start a Coffee Party and claim to be Wide Awake. The President could still triangulate with milk and sugar.)

One of the newest liberal demands actually jibes with a conservative cause. Seeing the public option as the only way to keep insurance companies honest, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas wants the mandate to buy insurance taken out of the bill. He thinks the proposal would put Republicans on the spot, and provide a cause for future changes.

There have been important lessons for everyone. The Administration knows it has to play hardball to get its plans through even a Democratic Congress. Liberals know they have to fight as hard as tea baggers to get their agenda through. And conservatives know that unity makes an opposition stronger.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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