Will The Liberals Cave On Health Care?

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The central organizing principle of negotiations between House leaders, Blue Dogs and the White House seems to be that House progressives will make lots of loud, angry noises about a weaker public plan but will not have the gumption to actually vote against the plan when it comes to the floor. It seems as if everyone but the House liberals believe that the House liberals will ultimately cave. This assumption has history going for it: in situations like this, liberals tend to cave. But circumstances are very different. If it looks as if health care will be defeated, perception might drive reality, and enough liberals could cave, thereby jeopardizing reform. Again, the White House doesn't seem to think that they'll hold fast, and is promising them that the House-Senate conference on health care will be tinged with a progressive spirit. They'll also make the blunt case that if liberals do revolt, they'll destroy Obama's presidency. 

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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