Did President Obama get the politics of health care all wrong? It's not an academic question.
Though the White House has been reluctant to offer too much guidance to Congress about what they should include in a health care bill, they've been clear from day one on strategy: 1) Don't put obstacles between Congress and the White House. 2) Lay out broad principles that everyone can agree on. 3) And try to do everything at once.
At the start of the Congressional recess, hindsight finds flaws with each of these tactics. Turns out that Congress produced too many bills too quickly, making it hard to produce one bill by the start of the recess.
Turns out that some specific guidance from the White House may have helped push things along in the Senate, in particular. And it turns out that if the White House had split the various pieces of its reform into digestible chunks, it might already have a real victory to sell to voters. I think the last criticism has the most merit. It's the one decision of the three that had foreseeable consequences, and it's the decision where those consequences weren't affected by outside factors, like the economic collapse.
As Mr. Obama points out, the House and the Senate have agreed on the backbone of major reforms to the health insurance system. The industry, having been effectively courted by the White House, conceded to these reforms. The White House's above-the-fray sales pitch kept them on board.