Eventually, however, the reality would sink in that very little had improved. Millions of Americans would understand that Washington protected the interests of a cold-hearted industry rather than fashion a health-insurance plan that would do the people much good. With that realization, many Americans would blame Obama and the Democrats.
On the other hand, if Obama demanded a public option and insisted on the support of his party, the dynamic might go very differently. If the Democrats assembled 59 votes for a strong plan "" even if Republicans continue their obstruction of Al Franken's Senate election in Minnesota "" that could turn the tables on "centrist" Republicans who would have to decide which side to take.
To get the Democrats to behave in such a disciplined and serious fashion, however, might require a backbone or brain transplant for many of them. But it's way past time for the Democrats to recognize that their obsession with bipartisanship is unrequited.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.