In other words, I'm supposed to give support to a bill no one outside of Congress has been allowed to read because these people feel that national health care is more important than any riders or consequences we may be afraid of.
I think what is really going on is more...psychological, if you will. We like to think we know the world, we know right from wrong, and since we tend to use ourselves as measuring sticks, it's a shock to find out that portions of the world, if not the majority of the world, doesn't agree with what you consider is right.
Personal case in point: I was out at McDonald's, watching a video and eating dinner, when a teenager, not even out of high school, started, for some unknown reason, a conversation. He had a copy of the local newspaper. Chicago had just held the Gay Games, and all this kid could say was, "Isn't gay some fucked up shit?" I've become so used to my stance that gays are equals, it slipped my mind that many people don't feel that way and see something wrong in homosexuality.
Nowhere is this "my persception == reality" more prevalent than in politics and religion. We've had people who think that, thanks to political correctness, racism is a thing of the past and that only a few backwards savage still harbor it. All it's done is force it underground, and when it appears, people are surprised that the dinosaur isn't dead. Or, when the racism is exhibited by those they seek to defend, they excuse it while villifying others, even though there is no real difference between their hatreds. And take it from a Christian who refuses to join any particular subset -- you want intollerance? Just try and get two different Christian denominations to treat each other with respect. Yikes.
For years, liberals have been trying to say that the general consensus that formed under Shrub, that became exhibited on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, that regarded most of the hightend awareness ideas as pipe dreams, was just popular noise, most of the people of the country didn't subscribe to that and would do the right thing given the chance. The right thing just happening to be what they felt was right.
Now, they are looking at nearly certain defeat of their utopia idea of government-run health care. Which threatens to expose their worldview as just another personal delusion and obsessive make-believe. That maybe people have different opinions than they do about what is the right thing to do.
This division is relatively new. During the Clinton years, for example, you either thought Clinton should quit acting like a shameless rock star, or you excused it for whatever reason. But you had a good, immutable reason for believing the way you did. But with the Gulf War, suddenly, people were presented with questions of policy and life where there were no good answers, just what you felt was the best solution based on what limited knowledge you had. The health care debate is trying to be dragged back into that "For it or against it" camp, but it just won't go.
1) The entire House is up for re-election in 2010. With the rise in tea parties and people confronting their Senators (notice it's mostly Senators with more than two years left going to these things, so there's time for voters to burn off the resentment), the only supporters will be those in districts that heavily favor government-run health and will guarantee they keep their jobs. The Democratic Party can control their fates to some degree, withholding funds and support in favor of a new candidate that will follow their line. But as standing up against the health plan starts turning these reps into heroes for defending their values, it gives them the clout to withstand the party's withdrawal of support. It might even enable these rank and file members to control the party, since they can say the party was trying to bully them into betraying their constituents. Extortion, yes, but it happens every day in Washington.
2) One third of the Senate is up for re-election next year. The D's only have the majority due to the Vice President casting a tie-breaker vote. Those up for re-election are aware that, if they lose, their party will blame them for giving the opposition the clear majority of the Senate (with so much of the House in play, the stability of the Senate is where the bragging rights will come from). No one wants that Sword Of Damocles dangling over their heads, and has to figure out how to weather angry constituents and a party that will ruin their phony-baloney jobs.
3) The tarnish on Obama's gleeming armor is becoming awfully visible. Obama's spokespeople have been taking bullets, floating ideas like dropping the mandatory enrollment. Before, this could be pinned on an aide not being properly briefed. Now, people are seeing Obama is stuck and is trying desperately to find some idea that will ease up the pressure. This isn't the behavior of a leader, and the dissatisfaction with Obama continues to snowball.
For the rest of us, the plan is simple -- keep up the pressure. Major cracks are showing. D's know they need some R's on their side, since several D's will be voting against it, either on principal or because they don't want their constituents voting them out. And they aren't getting it. Ironically, if they really wanted people to agree this health plan is so wonderful, all they would have to do is let us see it, along with any riders you KNOW are going to be added, and if it's really that wonderful, people will support it. Trying to keep it secret only reinforces the suspicion that there is something in there to screw us.
Congressional bills are just like proprietary software and underwear -- you're only embarassed to let people see it if there's something dirty in there.