The readers rally a battered blogger:

Get up. Take a walk. If it's too cold or dark outside, go do something else: talk to someone, read a book. Anything. You're right when you say "Yes, I'm gloomy." But you're too gloomy. Not that I don't think, unfortunately, that Brown will win tomorrow (although I still have some hope for the progressive GOTV movement in as blue a state as Massachusetts), but because when you're writing sentences like this (Even if Coakley wins - and my guess is she'll lose by a double digit margin - the bill is dead) you're letting the gloominess get to you too much. If Coakley wins, the bill is not dead.

Another:

Disappointment, yes.  Despair, no.  The earth will still rotate around the sun, the stars and the moon will still come out, and the birds will still sing as they perch on nearby trees.

This past year, the Democrats have wasted precious time arguing amongst themselves, while the Republicans simply got out of their way.  People wondered why they couldn't compromise with Republicans, and yet they couldn't even compromise amongst themselves!  And when the holdouts would take to the airwaves all they wanted was more money!  In a recession for God's sake! Shame on them.  They did it to themselves.

As for me, I still believe in President Obama.  He's done, or is trying to do, everything he said he would.  And let me remind you, he told us change would not be easy, nor would it be pretty to watch. 

Another:

If I could interrupt your gloom for a moment to interject some reality…

You say

“The most Obama can hope for is a minimalist alternative that simply mandates that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions and are barred from ejecting patients when they feel like it.”

There is nothing minimalist about such a mandate, if it stands alone.  It would eliminate the individual market for health insurance.  If insurance companies could not reject people without preexisting conditions, then healthy people would have no incentive to buy insurance: they would wait until they were sick.  This would drive up premiums, drive even modestly healthy people out of the market, etc. until there is no individual market for insurance anymore.  If you want to regulate insurance companies in this way, you need a mandate to force healthy people into the pool; and if you have a mandate, you need to subsidize poor people; and if you want to subsidize poor people, you need to find money through taxes or cuts to other programs.  In short, you get something like the current bill – as minimalist as possible. 

The next step down, I’m afraid, is the status quo.

All good points. I was venting. The news has been awful lately, and when you absorb it all all the time, it can get to you. Thanks for smacking me around a bit. I need it sometimes.