After emerging from the Democratic caucus meeting last night, Harry Reid, clearly exhausted and unable to produce a sports metaphor that Americans could relate to, told reporters, “This is like a steeplechase race. The last big puddle is in front of us.” That puddle maybe, we suppose was Joe Lieberman’s announcement that he would filibuster the Medicare buy-in proposal he’s supported basically his whole life, and the Democratic caucus had convened to decide their course of action. That action, reportedly, is folding like one of Tony Little’s Gazelles. Or an ironing board. Anything that easily folds.
As the Times reports, “Senate Democratic leaders said Monday that they were prepared to drop a proposed expansion of Medicare and scrap a new government-run health insurance plan as they tried to rally their caucus in hopes of passing the bill before Christmas.”
The reason is simple: Democrats care more about making some progress in reforming the health-care system than getting a perfect, ideal bill that they agree with 100 percent. Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse summed up this position nicely. “If you compared it to the alternative, it looks good,” he said. “If you compare it to the possibilities, it looks pretty sad.”