It was always going to be a challenge to find something that the moderates could stomach yet the liberals don’t think is too watered down. That, more than anything else, was destined to be the highest hurdle for health care reform to jump. Amazingly, the White House waited until after the liberal House bills were published – and all the attending fallout – to take this challenge seriously, or even notice it! Because of this error, it is now in a substantially weaker position to find that middle ground. The liberals already have their bills on the table, so they are at least somewhat committed to them (as the Progressive Caucus has been saying for weeks, and as the WaPo article suggests). The moderates and conservatives are at home getting yelled at by angry constituents, rather than in D.C. searching for that common ground. The acrimony has forced Obama out onto the campaign trail, where he is making mistakes (e.g. the Post Office comment, the Cambridge police comment, and the AARP comment – all a consequence of the White House’s desire to get back in front of the health care story). All of this has driven his poll numbers downward, leaving him less able to persuade the marginal members in the caucus, who must get getting nervous about November, 2010.

I can think of five very good reasons why the White House’s lack of foresight on the potential for the intraparty squabble is absolutely inexcusable…