Matthew Yglesias » Killing Health Reform With Kindness:
"My great fear is that this is how health care reform is going to die. A handful of very conservative members of congress may position themselves as “against” reform. But many people on the center and the right are going to say that they’re all for reform. They’re just going to be against particular things such that reform is impossible. . . .
we should be clear on who the real villains are here—Senators in the center who killed the Obama administration’s revenue concept without either putting a new revenue concept on the table or admitting that their actions are imperiling health reform. Thus far, people have been very eager to build “momentum” for reform by trumpeting all the different people and groups who say they’re for reform. But you need to watch out for a scenario in which reform’s false friends kill it with kindness. If there’s a battle between white hats and black hats we can fight the battle and perhaps win. But if we let too many black hats inside the tent, then reform’s false friends can kill universal health care with kindness. In other words, as far as I’m concerned anyone who’s “for” health reform but “against” all the ways of paying for it is against reform. Someone who’s really for reform—like me—is for paying for reform through any reasonable measures."
This is the dynamic on a lot of vital issues, not just health care reform. The centrist middle has lots of power, but presents no critique and undertakes no advocacy and, therefore, assumes very little responsibility. But, they wield a heck of a lot of power -- or, at least the six or eight conservative/moderate/centrist Democrats in the Senate do: Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Evan Bayh of Indiana, newly converted Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, being prime examples.