Really, it comes down to this: if Democrats truly believe that their plan will be deservedly unpopular if passed -- that people will hate the individual mandate more than they like the benefits it brings -- then they should back off. Not because of how it will be portrayed, but because of what the program actually does. If, however, Democrats believe that once passed health care reform will rapidly become part of the scenery, the way that Social Security and Medicare have become, then it's not even a close case; the best political course for them is to pass the bill.
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