A little while ago, holding a bulletproof majority in the Senate and a drunken reprobate margin in the House, the Democratic Party managed to shoot itself in the foot and not get passed any reform at all, with or without the public option, or really do anything when you think about it.
First, so there is no confusion, the public option is basically a government insurance company. It's not a take over or anything like it, unless you realize that once a player with no profit motive enters the field, a whole lot of insurance companies will have some explaining to do. I think one firm had an 89% profit increase, while only increasing the customer base 24%? Oh, and their profits will drop. Although profiting off of people's health feels unseemingly if you don't have a medical degree of some kind.
So, why does the party with all the chips seem to be dancing with themselves? Well, probably because the Democrats are the party of inclusion, which means everybody can join. Unlike the seemingly Borg cloned Republican party, the party currently in charge of America is so diverse it can't agree on soup and salad vs. salad and soup.
Obama was a constitutional law professor before the senate and his current job, and as I've taken constitutional law (or rather am currently taking) I can understand his methodology to some degree. The President isn't supposed to make laws. Which is why he didn't go to Congress with a pre-written INSURANCE reform bill (it's not really a "health care" issue) and tell them to pass this, much like Clinton tried. He knew he could set the agenda, but it was up Congress to work out the nuts and bolts. Forgive him for trying to work the system.
Add in that this is the first time the Democrats have been in power in almost twenty years and that it takes a special kind of person to even run for a job in Congress and what you get are little power mad "my way" rogue agents with a made gleam in their eyes and their own private agendas, looking for a leg up or a high sign. The Blue Dog Democrats, the Gang of Three, and whoever else where it wasn't negotiation but three to ten individual people holding the nation hostage.
Obama isn't one for drama, so let's be glad I'm not President. Dramatic statement would be the course of the day. Even Fox "News" would pick up the feed. I'd be the "damned" Chicago President. I'd show up on Capitol Hill one morning with my Secret Service Team in tow, and bum rush Congress. I'd start at Nancy Pelosi's office and basically ask her if she was with me or against me on Health Care. She can have her own opinions on other things, but for this it's cut and dried. Thirty seconds. And if she joined up, I'd make her tag along while I hit the next office with the same line. Until I was walking around with 20 or 25 senators. And then when I get to the holdouts, it would be browbeat time. With me or you can go home now, because whatever you put up, the Republicans will vote down and the folks behind will too, for the rest of the time I'm in office. Maybe its a bluff, maybe not.
By like 3pm, Health care, er...Insurance reform would pass.
Sometimes, with people used to being coddled and begged, you have to knock them out of their comfort zone.
Supposedly Pete Rozelle, when he met an impasse trying to merge the then established NFL and the upstart AFL into the single behemoth we know today, told the team owners that nobody was leaving the room until they figured it out how to balance everything up. The owners, rich powerful men used to having people jump when they called, all laughed and went ahead to argue for hours. Then around 4pm, guys with cots and pillows showed up. Dinner was brought in. Everybody stopped laughing. They got it done in less than 48 hours.
Somebody call the White House. I know where Obama can get a deal on 435 cots. For cheap.