Robert Gibbs seems to understand things fairly well:
Putting aside some of his careful talk, it struck me how happy I was not to be seeing Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Tony Snow, or Dana Perino on the screen lying to me constantly in support of a horrific agenda. Gibbs fundamentally gets it, and seems to be fully aware of the treacherous political landscape the Obama White House is finding itself in. He still throws in a few too many squishy qualifiers, but he appears to finally feel the fire under his ass.
His advantage, however, is that the ball is in the House’s court. The Senate can negotiate with 51 members willing to add fixes via reconciliation, able to offer the House a better deal than Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson (and, of course, a big improvement on the GOP’s extended middle finger). I know not everything can be done via reconciliation, and I expect House members to know that as well.
It’s important that Democrats itching to retreat at this point see only bayonets behind them, charging forward. Retreat is simply unacceptable at this point, and would be one of the purest expressions of the term, “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” Democrats can win on the bill with one vote in the House, or face a political tsunami of rage and inconvenient indifference. Any American with hopes for repairing our broken system and who fears that they may one day slip through the health care cracks can feel somewhat reassured that the future won’t be so grim. Should the bill die, tens of millions of Americans will have little choice but to despair as the one party they’re supposed to trust on health care fumbles the ball on the five yard line.