[T]here’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.
It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.
Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.
So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back.
Ta-Nehisi Coates piles on:
...Obama claimed that health care reform "shouldn't be a political issue." Really? Then why did he hand it off to a gaggle of politicians? Why is he even talking about it? Then Obama shouted out Chuck Grassley, who has aided the spread of death panel rumors, as an example of a Republican whose been "working very constructively." Grassley returned the favor by calling Obama "intellectually dishonest." [...] I'm not sure that most voters are bothered by any of this. Still, this whole escapade smacks of Obama being too clever by half--of an Obama who can't get over his own high-mindedness and holds out the bipartisan spirit as a kind of fetish, a gimmick. It's all so unserious.