Health care as home repair. E.J. Dionne tells the story of Jay Inslee who was swept out of office the last time the Dems failed to deliver health care, but came back in 96:

"I introduced myself as a fella who was defeated in 1994, the last time we didn't pass meaningful health-care reform," Inslee recalls saying. "I said it was a painful event, and I didn't want them to go through that pain." In politics, he told his colleagues, assuming the "fetal position" can be the most dangerous thing to do.

And then he recounted all the grief he and his family went through while work on their kitchen renovation dragged on and on and on. "During that time, I had blood lust against my contractor," Inslee said. "Six months went by, and he was still arguing with the plumber. Eight months went by, and there were still wires hanging down everywhere, and he was having trouble with the building inspector."

Inslee looked at his colleagues and declared: "We've got to finish the kitchen." His point was that Americans won't experience any of the benefits of health-care reform until Congress puts a new system in place.

I'm sure you guys can extend and twist this metaphor all kinds of ways. A couple of you made some good arguments for the health care summit as great political theater. I guess I'm not convinced that the public wants to see more process. I think they just want this thing done.

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