Democrats in the House, especially the moderates and so-called blue dogs, really should stop applauding at this point, and signal to the president that he’s been handed a gift by the voters: a rough suggestion as to a midcourse correction.

Politico asked if the White House would learn anything through what happened Tuesday, and if a correction was possible. I doubt it. It is odd to see such hard-line tough-guy political players—and that’s how they see themselves and in part are—governed, really, by abstractions, by things that look big-time but are actually small-time: our legacy, our greater historical meaning, the Aristotelian purity of getting at least a partial public option established so that it will grow and history will look back and say, “Ah, after 40 years of waiting they delivered what America never had and needed.”

Mr. Obama and the House leadership may be too deep into health care to make a shift now and get in line with the American people’s concerns. But they should start paying attention to what the people are saying. What happened Tuesday isn’t a death knell, but it is a fire alarm: Something’s wrong, fix it, change course.