How do you get everything you ever asked for as a political party - popular president, significant majority in the House, a majority a hair away from achieving critical mass in the Senate - and then find every excuse in the book for not being able to do what you want?
This healthcare bill fight has been so predictable you would think the Democrats own the trademark rights to the term "political failure".
Even though the reality is that we are very close to seeing some kind of healthcare bill hit the president's desk, the perception that the Democrats are fighting an uphill battle against an opposition whose forces are weak and tattered is the one that predominates political discussions.
Setting aside the differences in rhetoric for a minute, the one thing you know about a Republican is, even if he is outnumbered a hundred to one, he will try to dominate the situation, as if to rule is his birthright. If he is only outnumbered ten to one, he will start proclaiming victory immediately, as if by force of will alone he will negate the mathematical inequality staring him in the face.
Representative Alan Grayson from Florida has had enough. I know he doesn't read this blog or others like it, but he has done the very thing I and countless other bloggers have been trumpeting for weeks - he has simplified the complexities of the healthcare debate down to a few words the general public can get its arms around.
He did not dance around the issues.
He did not come up with a legal sounding rebuttal to the opposition that left enough wiggle room for him to deny it all later.
And he damn sure didn't consult his pollster to determine how this might make his approval rating or his reelection numbers fluctuate.
He boiled down the Republican opposition to ANY healthcare overhaul to simple, direct, visceral terms - the kind Democrats normally shy away from. The kind the Republicans normally come up with in their sleep.
"The Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick ... This is what the Republicans want you to do. “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.”
Rep. Alan Grayson, Tuesday from the floor of the House of Representatives
Can this lone brawler inspire the rest of the Democratic crybabies?
America has put polio in the history books. Put men on the moon. We can even get our money out of the bank in the middle of the night after its staff has gone home by simply sticking a card in a machine.
We can do this. The Democrats can do this.
Are the Democrats waiting for perfect conditions? 75 or 80 Democratic senators and 300 or more Democratic members of the House? The way they look right now, I doubt if even those gargantuan majorities would be enough.
Maybe there are too many lawyers in the Democratic Party, including the president, who are prone to do that thing that lawyers instinctively do when they open their mouths - try not to get boxed into a corner.
Advocating for a client, ladies and gentlemen, is different than fighting for your constituents.
Quit playing to George Will and George Stephanopoulos - the Peorias around the country get their soundbites via Youtube just like everybody else does these days, and those websites with the weird names that slice and dice the news up into bits of entertainment, to be endlessly re-emailed, replayed and repeated.
The Democrats need to paint themselves into a corner on this one - they need to paint themselves into a corner and dare anyone to try and get them out of it.