"This is quite a system. What do you call it?"

The Senate seems set to kill off the public option in exchange for a package of compromises on other issues. This is going to cause understandable heartburn among progressives, but do we really think that a member of Congress should vote against the whole bill if it's this compromise or nothing?

How would such a Congressperson explain that decision to one of her constituents? Consider:

Jane: So, Congresswoman, what's going to happen with health care in this country?

Rep.: Well, Jane, I've got good news and bad news.

Jane: Uh oh. Better start with the bad news.

Rep.: The bad news is, the health care bill isn't going to pass because I've decided to vote against it. And I'm the critical swing vote.

Jane: Oh, no. Really?

There's more...

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