In yesterday’s Washington Post, Eugene Robinson suggests that one reason why health care reform is stalling is lack of passion on the Democratic side:

How could this happen? The Pew survey suggests, basically, that Republicans are more passionate about the health-care issue than Democrats.

According to Pew, those who would be “pleased” if health-care reforms proposed by Obama and Congress are enacted outnumber those who would be “disappointed.” But when you look at those who feel most passionately about the issue, just 15 percent say they would be “very happy” if the reforms go through, while 18 percent say they would be “angry.” Among Republicans, a full 38 percent would be angry if health-care reform finally passes — but among Democrats, just 13 percent would be angered if it doesn’t.

But percentages might not be as important as absolute numbers here. I don’t know what the current levels of party affiliation are right now, but right after the last election, many more people considered themselves Democrats than Republicans. Republican affiliation has shrunk down to a much more dedicated, wing-nuttier core than ever before.

If a whole lot of lukewarm Republicans became lukewarm Democrats, and Sarah Palin were the only Republican left, then a 100% of Republicans would be angry if there were health care reform and the percentage of Democrats who would be angry if there were no health care reform would be much lower than it currently is. But obviously, one would hardly expect health care reform to stall on account of that (though of course, the reasons why it is stalling would be operative then too, and the Dems would still be trying to reach a bipartisan solution in which Palin got two thirds of what she wanted and the rest of the country got one third of what it wanted).

If one factors in Independents, although the percentage of the enlarged Democratic-Independent group that would be angry if there were no health care reform would probably go down, there would very likely be a larger number of people absolutely who were passionate about getting real reform than of people who will be angry if there is real reform.

Of course, if Robinson were just talking about Democrats and Republicans in government, then he might be on to something. The real cause of the stalling of health care reform lies with the failure of almost every elected official involved in leading the fight for reform to show some backbone.

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