At the beginning of the week, health care reform was, yet again, declared dead. The White House woke up Monday morning, bleary eyed, to awful headlines about the "public option." Chuck Grassley had spit on the idea of bipartisan compromise -- still, in the view of the Senate leadership and the White House, the most likely route to a bill. It's been a bad month for Democrats. And the long-term (actually, 2010 is short term, but long-term, short-term) prospects for Republicans are brightening.
To feed a news cycle (they don't call it a cycle because it's linear), some folks may strain to make a case that Democrats are in good shape. Eh. No. But there is no single vector to the news, or to public opinion. And importantly, though the prospects for the passage of health care reform are less certain than they were at the beginning of the month, they are still fairly strong.
Item: Public opinion is swinging around like a tether ball. When phrased fairly, Americans still support the basic premise of health care reform, and they seem to like the president's ideas. They like the "choice" frame as applied to a public option, especially if _they_ get the choice. They aren't concerned about tax hikes. They're not too happy with Democrats, but they like Republicans even less. They're especially vulnerable to misinformation, and Democrats are still trying to figure out whether rebutting the bad info simply reinforces its salience among partisans.