Roosevelt, the towering political figure of the 20th century, with an electoral mandate, a Democratic Congress, and the stench of a failed Republican president fresh on the nation's mind, had to take what he could get on Social Security, which was far less than what he wanted.
And, naturally, this is equally as important:
Indeed, let's be clear. There may be some Dems who say, "Well, the reform bill could be better, so could the original Social Security bill have been, so let's not fight too hard for progressive goals." This attitude is entirely wrong and self-defeating.
Exactly. To be clear on my position, while I can see the upside of passing the public option and then improving it a la Social Security and SCHIP, it's still important to fight for the strongest possible public option and the strongest possible bill in the meantime. This was true when we were blitzing the Coalition of the Corrupt & Spineless, and it was true when Baucus announced his terrible plan, and it's true today.
And in doing so, there are effective ways to go about this and there are ineffective ways. Screeching about how so-and-so is selling us out is a waste of time that could be better spent strongly explaining why a more robust public option is better policy -- not to mention better politics. In other words, it's important to be heard, but it's also important to be taken seriously. The Anthony Weiner Strategy.
Consequently, we've fought hard for the best possible bill without marginalizing ourselves in the eyes of the party leadership -- who, like it or not, we can't afford to scare away.