Matt Taibbi, writing at True Slant, lays out the healthcare conundrum in pretty clear terms.
I’ve been getting phone calls from some folks in DC with some ugly stories about how the Democrats have systematically sandbagged the progressive opposition, with the White House pulling strings and levering the funding for various nonprofit groups in order to prevent them from airing ads attacking the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. I suspect in the end this is going to be the main story of the health care reform effort, how the Democrats (and some progressive groups) sold out their constituents in exchange for financial contributions from the relevant industries.
We’re reaching a head on what will happen on healthcare. Either the White House and leadership will put pressure on the Senate conserva-Dems who oppose a public health insurance option and get them to accept it, or the White House and leadership will put pressure on House progressives who have pledged to not vote for any bill that does not include a public option. If the pressure falls on the House, then Taibbi’s take on Dems will at least in part be correct. Adjudicating the extent to which he is right would depend on an assessment of whether, as he says, these Democrats are politically craven or if they just don’t believe the same things as their base…or the 2008 Obama campaign.