And the Democratic Party, too, from the health care disaster: The Parliamentarian of the Senate, who could rule that the Senate may not use reconciliation to pass the health-care bill. That would give everyone an out.
The "win-win" way out would be for Republicans Paul Ryan of the House and Tom Coburn of the Senate to develop a health care bill and bring it to a passing vote, with Obama coaxing it along and then signing it. Democrats might choke or commit hara-kiri, but enough would vote for it; the rest could campaign on passing a real bill. Republicans would finally have a positive domestic agenda, though they would likely lose their chance for a legislative majority in 2010. Obama would avoid a disaster. The fact that Obama is not interested in such a scheme or too weak to muscle it through indicates his lack of statesmanship, low or high.