Steve Lombardo analyzes:
[F]or Obama to realize some kind of January bump from health care reform's eventual passage, he will need to explain to the American public a) what the bill does and b) why it will be a good thing for them personally. Perhaps then, as is typical after these protracted legislative battles are won by a President and his party, Obama might get a modest (three-to-five point) bounce in his approval rating. But that is far from a certainty. Today, Quinnipiac University released another poll that showed a majority of voters disapprove of the Senate's health care plan. It is going to take some work to convince voters that this bill is a good thing. Not impossible, but increasingly difficult.
I don't think this is about a short term five point bump. Here's what has happened: a liberal Democratic president has just passed universal health insurance. No Democratic president has done something like that since Johnson. It is designed to show that government can do something real and tangible for the working poor. And in that respect, its impact on the political culture will be deep and lasting, unless the opposition can stop it, demonize it, or jump up and down enough to make it seem as if Obama is out of step with the times rather than them.
My suspicion is that they will fail in the end to achieve this; and that this new landmark for liberalism will reorient American politics the way Reagan's first year did - profoundly. I may be wrong and I will be accountable for this judgment. But the age demands government action. And Obama is doing as much of it as consensually and as civilly but as ruthlessly as he can.
Why so pragmatic and centrist? Because he wants it all to last.