Seth Masket dismisses liberal handwringing:

My impression of what actually happened is that Obama looked at the political scene and said, there are two real veto players here: me and Senate Republicans.  So let's cut a deal and not worry about everyone else.  He might well have looked back at the debate over health care reform and thought, wow, the entire nation debated this for over a year, and it didn't really move the issue at all.  The public option didn't get more or less popular -- it always looked pretty popular but probably not commanding the support of 60 Senators.  And the bill that he signed into law looked remarkably like what he'd originally outlined a year earlier.  So it strikes me as legitimate to ask what the value of all that debate was.

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