I highlighted this quote from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow below, but I think it's worth posting again:

But ultimately, if the president decides that he's going to go with a reform effort that doesn't include a public option, what he will have done is spent a ton of political capital, riled up an incredibly angry right wing base who's been told that this is a plot to kill grandma, grandma, and he will have achieved something that doesn't change health care very much and that doesn't save us very much money and won't do very much for the American people.  It's not a very good thing to spend a lot of political capital on.

Astute and provocative analysis. I have some follow-up questions, hopefully to provoke thinking and debate:

1. Did POTUS rile up the right wing base?  Or was it all riled up and waiting for an issue like this to come along?

2. Was the return of polarization inevitable regardless of what Obama did?

3. Who is responsible for making the public plan central to the intellectual left's conception of what a good health care reform bill is all about?

4. Does Maddow believe that the insurance reforms in the bill aren't going to "do very much?" 

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