09/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Republican Overreaching Might Have Saved Health Care Reform

It wasn't looking very good. Democrats seemed to be retreating into their default position -- fetal -- in the wake of this latest sustained Republican tantrum. It seems as if after so many years in captivity (the Reagan/Bush years), Democrats, now not only freed but supposedly in control, still carry with them the emotional memory of subservience.

The Republicans seem to have exactly the opposite problem. They're like Japanese soldiers marooned on islands in the South Pacific, still believing that their empire stands strong.

Finally, thanks to Republican overreaching, Democrats might be waking up and remembering that they're now the guards and not the inmates.

Democratic passivity, in this case, has actually turned into a blessing. Dems can now turn to skeptical independents and say, "See, the Republicans don't even want watered-down health-care co-ops. They don't want any competition for the health-care giants at all. They only want to defeat this president and insure more obscene profiteering by their pals in the health-care industry. Democrats are riding to the aid of hardworking, middle-class Americans, reforming a system that is literally bankrupting tens of thousands of us each year."

Republican Joe Scarborough gave the Democrats some free, obvious advice on his show weeks ago. He said forget the Republicans, they're never going to compromise. Just corral the Blue Dogs in the White House and don't let them out until they figure out what's the biggest pill they can swallow.

The Blue Dogs are smart enough to know that their future is tied to the president's, and the president's future is tied to the passage of meaningful health-care reform.