The White House very publicly cut a deal with union leaders to exempt union and government workers from the Senate bill's 40-percent excise tax on employer-paid "Cadillac" health care plans. Then there were the very open giveaways handed to Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Mary Landrieu, D-La. to win their support. Nebraska voters were so outraged that Nelson has since distanced himself from his own big-dollar bargain.
"I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people," Obama said. "I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, 'What's in it for me?' "
What's in it for me? Actually, it's Landrieu, Nelson and Big Labor who asked that question. Perhaps while they had their hands out, they also wondered if they dare be so brazen. And a little voice answered: "Yes, we can."