Why did Democrats take a beating for passing a health care bill that was very similar in form to what Republican intellectuals had been urging for more than a decade? Because the Tea Party, conservative independents and Republicans have moved the political center to the right--marginally on a 0 to 100 scale, but enough to tip the scale away from Democrats.

Basically, the right stared down the Obama liberals. And since no Democrat, including Obama, has made much of a sustained case for the insurance reform, the successful bank and auto bailouts and the stimulus after passage, Independents have shifted with those who show conviction.

I don't know why I keep being surprised by the core political incompetence and cowardice of Democrats.

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