Max Blumenthal checks out tea party polling and notes that two surveys on tea party support "yield evidence that most Americans know little or nothing about the movement, and some additional results suggest that those who are only 'somewhat' supportive hold positions that may be at odds with those frequently associated with the movement." He quotes ABC News:

[W]hile shy of a majority, a substantial share of Tea Party supporters, 43 percent, say government should require all Americans to have health insurance, from their employer or another source, with financial assistance for those who need it.

It is simply a staggering failure of political skill that the Democrats have fumbled this issue so badly.

Obama must take his share of the blame - but his September healthcare speech was fantastic as was his SOTU. Meanwhile, how many Congressional Democrats have actually persuaded anyone of anything lately? How many could? How have they ceded this strong centrist argument - that even appeals to Tea Party supporters - to someone like Glenn Beck, for Pete's sake? And why on earth has the left been so pissy when this cherished progressive goal is so close to achievement?

Why, in other words, doesn't the House simply pass the Senate bill now? I guess Obama will try to recast the debate all by himself again in the bipartisan conference. Because having Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi in front of a television camera is inherently counter-productive.

That's how useless they are as politicians.

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