In their desperation to find a sane response to the health bill, the shameless Republican opponents have had no credible answer. Instead they have repeatedly given us a vision of death - death taxes, death panels, job killers. But they have conveniently ignored the large number of Americans who actually die each year for lack of health insurance. No other advanced western country need apologize for such neglect.
For the white-guy southerners on Capitol Hill, there has been more than one ugly glimpse of how, in their vengeance, they hope to destroy America's first African-American president. Their regressive battle cry has been Sen. Jim DeMint's notion that if health care reform fails, it will be President Obama's "Waterloo". It has been more than a casual thought of his brethren in the Senate. It is fertile with meaning.
Thanks to the resistance on the Right, the bill is a skeleton of its original purpose, but it is more than what we have now. The foolish talk that we need to start all over again is just that: foolish. It will be grounded well into future administrations. .
It has taken more than a year of gutter talk, from the bizarre Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs and their wannabes, to reach this crucial point in history. For the have-nots, it will be a helping hand if it passes. But for Obama's opponents, it will be a dream come true if it fails. For the nation, it will tell us of whether we can move intelligently on the business at hand, or be sorely troubled in the months and years ahead by a cancer that is spreading up on the Hill.