Meanwhile, the few Democratic commentators who did say Grayson’s actions were beyond the pale risked a backlash from liberal readers hungering for a fight after a summer in which the health care debate appeared to be dominated by loud opponents on the right.

“I’m in trouble with some of my readers for not lionizing Alan Grayson, [because I am] a person who has said, ‘I would like to bring facts back to this debate’ and who has criticized the death panel rhetoric,’ ” said Joan Walsh, editor in chief of Salon.com.

But Grayson’s bona fide heroic status with the left isn’t likely to play well back in Florida’s 8th Congressional District, a jagged swath of the Sunshine State that includes Orlando and cuts through some of its northern suburbs.