COAKLEY2DarrenMcCollester:Getty

He had health insurance reform in his grasp and yet it may now be swiped away because they simply took too long to get it done. Josh vents:

[If Scott Brown wins], Health Care Reform will be dead unless the House agrees to pass the Senate bill verbatim -- which I really wonder about, given how dug in the progressives in the House are. Barney Frank doesn't seem to think it'll happen.

At that point, how incredibly stupid is the dawdling over the last few weeks going to look? The work of a year, arguably the work of a few generations, let go needlessly over a single special election?

It's really almost beyond comprehension.

It is until you realize the Democratic party organized this Congressional mess and the Coakley candidacy. And then, of course, there is the total, rigid opposition to any reform and any cooperation at all from the nihilist Republicans. Obama is president for three more years. He will survive. He may even prosper. But this really would be a massive blow. To get this close and lose health insurance would embolden every enemy Obama has, from Netanyahu to Ailes.

That's the only reason to vote for Coakley on Tuesday.

She's a dreadful candidate, but this race is now a critical battle in the war to rescue the possibility of effective governance. If health reform dies, it will show just how broken the system is, just how impossible it is to effect even centrist reform in a Senate this paralyzed, how polarization has made compromise impossible, how the country's profound problems are simply beyond the system's reach. If this fails, what chance for any action on climate change? Or the debt? Or some movement toward a settlement in the Middle East?

And if Obama fails, there are no Democrats able to match him. The nihilist Republicans would be resurgent, pledging more tax cuts, more debt, and no entitlement cuts, entrenching torture as the American way, and pouring even more resources into the indefinite occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The lesson will be: permanent political war is the only way. The only way to govern the country is to divide and weaken it. 

Just like Rove did. You want that back? Vote Brown. You don't? Hold your nose and vote for Coakley.

(Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty.)