Hindsight is, of course, 20/20. And on the morning after historic health care reform legislation passed the House of Representatives, it is a bit easier to see and understand how the process actually happened.
And yet, it's too tempting to resist the urge to go back and see which health care reform fatalist got it wrong. There were, after all, many lawmakers, pundits and observers who in the wake of Scott Brown's January victory in Massachusetts rushed to read the legislation's last rites.
Here are a few:
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio): Health care passing 'over my dead body.' - March 17, 2010
"You know, I've been telling my staff nine months, 'They can't pass this bill.' And finally my staff wrestled me to the ground last fall and said, 'Mr. Boehner, we have to quit saying this because they're gonna pass this bill.' And I looked at my staff and I said, 'Alright, I'll try to throttle it back a little bit. But it'll be over my dead body.'"
Boehner on "Meet the Press" -- September 20, 2009
"So you think the plan is dead?" asked host David Gregory.
"I think it is," said Boehner.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) - March 12, 2008
"I've been being asked that question over the last couple days, and to be honest with you, I don't think they can pass the bill... I don't even think we need to be talking about 'after they pass it' because they don't have the votes right now..."
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) - February 25, 2010
"We have to continue the fight to make sure [it is dead]," Cantor says, "but all signs indicate now they cannot pass this in the House."
It wasn't just Republicans who thought health care reform was dead. Democrats, too, resigned themselves to dropping the bill.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) - January 19, 2010
"I think you can make a pretty good argument that health care might be dead."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) - January 20, 2010
"I think the measure that would have passed, that is, some compromise between the House and Senate bill, which I would have voted for, although there were some aspects of both bills I would have liked to see change, I think that's dead."
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) - January 20, 2010
"If [Martha Coakley] loses, [health care] over."
Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) - March 3, 2010
"I think the votes are not there and I don't see where we get them."
The media also jumped the gun on health care's impending death or, at the very least, misread the tea leaves.
Chris Matthews - January 19, 2010
"It's that rare election where voters know exactly what they're voting on. If they're with Democrat Martha Coakleyl, they get health care reform. If they go for Republican Scott Brown it's deliberate, premeditated murder for health care!"
Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard - January 20, 2010
"The health care bill, ObamaCare, is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection. Brown ran to be the 41st vote for filibuster and now he is just that. Democrats have talked up clever strategies to pass the bill in the Senate despite Brown, but they won't fly. It's one thing for ObamaCare to be rejected by the American public in poll after poll. But it becomes a matter of considerably greater political magnitude when ObamaCare causes the loss of a Senate race in the blue state of Massachusetts."
Reason magazine - January 22, 2010
"Health Care Is Dead--Just Don't Tell the Left"
George Stephanopoulos - January 19, 2010
"I think most Democrats right now would agree with Congressman Barney Frank, a loyal supporter of the president, who said that health reform in this form is likely dead if Coakley loses."
Andrew Sullivan - January 19, 2010
"What comes next will be a real test for [President Barack] Obama... I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation."
So who got it right? Well, a lot of people including the entirety of Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. There was also one notably prescient Republican strategist:
Karl Rove - March 15, 2010
"I -- you know, look. It's a 40-60 shot, 40 percent that they pass it, 60 they don't. But on the other hand, I don't count out the speaker of the House and her ability to sway votes. As you say, it's 211-220 today.
"You know, they're going to try and find some additional vote -- they're going to lose some additional votes and then they're going to try and find some additional votes. And it's going to be one wild week to watch it."