OTOH I am practical. We have Brent Budowsky complaining that the president is a bad poker player, who tells ahead of time what he’s up to. Senator Harkin expresses surprise that Obama might not have lobbied Joe Lieberman on behalf of the public option, and at least some legislators are openly griping. Yet I believe Budowsky is nuts if he thinks much more could have been gotten, and, unless something unusual happens,d Obama is going to be the person who succeeded, and that despite steadfast Republican obstructionism. The problem thus becomes how to explain Obama’s success.
Part of the explanation is pretty obvious: Obama was just one cog in a machine. Many people who have even been outwardly hostile actually unconsciously decided long, long ago that they were going to see this through practically no matter what. Bernie Sanders, for instance.
But another partial explanation may be that people appreciate if you aren’t trying to play poker with them. I, for one, detest such games.
It has occurred to me that, if Sheldon Whitehouse had not defeated Lincoln Chafee, a decent person who may well have blown off the Republican leadership, we likely would have gotten Olympia Snowe, who is too timid to act on her own; and if you get Olympia Snowe, you likely get Susan Collins. OTOH the fourth Republican you are likely to get in that case, Arlen Specter, we actually got anyway.