President Obama’s European tour was a triumph. Among other accomplishments, he and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown managed to secure a commitment from G-20 nations to provide $1.1 trillion to less-developed countries, not just to help their battered economies, but to increase global demand. The Financial Times observed that few doubted Obama’s success except for his “conservative critics” at home. (Since so many of them live in an alternate universe, they have difficulty grappling with the realities of this one.)

Now Obama comes home—and here is the hard part. Will Democrats in Congress believe enough in his broad agenda of change to enact it? On health care, which Republicans desperately want to postpone on the calculation that delay presages defeat, the viable, perhaps essential, course is to include it in the budget reconciliation bill. The reason? Reconciliation requires only 50 votes and Vice President Biden to break a tie in the Senate. Under that scenario, health reform could be stopped only if Democrats break ranks.

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Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.