For the last three months, we've all been watching the Kabuki drama play out, but the ultimate outcome was never really much in doubt. Like a badly-written detective drama where the audience spots the killer in the opening act, almost everyone knew the Tea Partiers were going to lose this battle.
As the senior leader of one Chinese state-owned enterprise said to me, "I used to think [Obama] was nice. Then I realized he was intelligent. Now I know he's shrewd, just like Hu Jintao. Your leader is a strategist."
A broad number of polls indicate that progressive opinion, particularly in the area of health care, is much more profoundly aligned with popular opinion than the damp squib of a proposal currently being championed by the president.