Ultimately, Dennis Kucinich Was Helpless to Resist the Charms of President Obama

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Dennis Kucinich has been saying all along that he couldn't support the health-care legislation before Congress. He voted against the bill the first time around because it wasn't progressive enough, and as recently as yesterday claimed he was still a "firm no." But even a principled stand by a politician who's never been shy about deviating from the party line couldn't withstand the overtures of President Obama, who spent almost all of Monday wooing and vaguely threatening the Ohio congressman. In a press conference this morning, Kucinich announced that he has decided "after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth, and close friends" that he would vote yes. He added that his "criticism of the legislation has been well reported," and he doesn't "retract those criticisms." But in the end, Kucinich recognized how pivotal his vote has become, and he refused to make the perfect the enemy of the good. It will be interesting to see if his decision persuades other wavering Democrats to come to a similar conclusion.