The plot thickens:

So how did we get where we are? The White House and Gates seemingly didn’t want a vote this year. Activists wouldn’t let up. Murphy, Levin, and Lieberman put in a heroic effort to salvage repeal. And in my estimation, when Levin was one vote away in the Senate committee, White House officials realized the repeal train was leaving without them and not hopping aboard was a no-win situation. If it passed, they would get no credit; if it failed by one vote, activists would castigate them for withholding support.

This compromise could still fail, and make no mistake, the deal was brokered by the White House, which then treated it as the redheaded stepchild it never wanted in the first place. But the outcome win or lose now has the administration's fingerprints on it, even though its refrain since Monday morning has been that Congress was forcing its hand.

Via Smith, who also notes that certain military chiefs are opposing action.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.