Ben Smith thinks that the left falling into line is a vindication for Rahm Emanuel:
The base has fallen into line. And if Rahm was right all along that progressives, essentially, could be taken for granted, he's about to go from punching bag to hero in the eyes of many Democrats.
That statement is only supportable if you fail to remember what the actual health reform debate was like two months ago. In the wake of the Massachusetts special election, Rahm Emanuel wanted to scrap even the Senate health reform bill and pass something smaller:
Emanuel, for his part, is now pushing for a stripped-down health care bill that could be passed within a few weeks and force Republicans, for a change, to take a few tough votes.
While Emanuel was arguing for less than the Senate bill, others were arguing that the Senate needed to pass a reconciliation fix to the Senate bill, making it stronger. For example, here was SEIU's Andy Stern the day after the Massachusetts special election:
The House should pass the Senate's health insurance reform bill - with an agreement that it will be fixed, fixed right, and fixed right away through a parallel process. [. . . ] The House and Senate must move forward together. And, there is no reason they cannot move forward together to make those changes through any means possible -- whether through reconciliation or other pieces of moving legislation.
The last tow months clearly followed Andy Stern's recommendation, not Rahm Emanuel's. Or really, everyone's advice except Rahm Emanuel's:
Senior Congressional aides said that lawmakers and the White House were increasingly focused on a plan by which the House would adopt the health care bill approved by the Senate on Dec. 24, with any changes made in a separate bill using the budget reconciliation maneuver.
Instead of scrapping the Senate health care bill and passing something stripped down, Congress is moving to pass the Senate health reform bill with improvements through the reconciliation process. Which is what almost everyone except Rahm Emanuel wanted.
It beats me how someone can have the exact opposite of his recommended path forward come to pass, and still be vindicated. Emanuel wanted to water down the Senate bill further, but instead it will be getting stronger through the reconciliation process as progressives were demanding. Yeah, Emanuel really paved the way forward after the Massachusetts debacle.