The plan initially was to wait until next year to reinvent himself but the polls are such that he probably figures he can’t spare another minute. This is like Bush touting himself as a “diplomacy first” kind of guy circa mid-2003. Or, better yet, like LBJ touting the future savings in Medicare circa 1967, boasting how it would only cost $10 billion a year come 1990. No worries: It’ll all be different this time.

To prepare yourself for what you’re about to see, take a deep breath, concentrate your mind on the fact that everyone on either side of the aisle acknowledges at this point that the bill is being passed simply so that Democrats can claim a political victory ahead of 2010, and savor the irony of this: “Washington’s become more concerned about the next election than the next generation.”