Obviously, this doesn’t seem fair. After all, the conservative House Blue Dogs held out a few weeks ago, threatening to derail health care if their demands weren’t met. But instead of writing them off, Mrs. Pelosi cut a deal with them. Why won’t the progressives be treated the same way?

The easiest answer is that they are victims of their own loyalty to the Democratic Party. Already this year, 11 of the 52 House Blue Dogs voted against the stimulus package; 14 of them voted against the budget; and 29 rejected the climate change bill. In short, the Blue Dogs have established that they’re willing to walk away from the Democratic caucus.

Not so for the progressives. With 79 voting House members, they are the largest Democratic sub-group, but they have a reputation on the Hill as a loose collection of idealistic pushovers—true believers who can always be won over with the argument the “this is the best deal we could get” argument.

The assumption is that nothing will change on health care.