Before that, it was the firing of Van Jones, and before that it was giving Bush administration officials a pass for promoting torture and politicizing the DOJ. Before that, it was taking impeachment "off the table." And way way back before that, it was voting to give Dubya the authority to invade Iraq.
Each time, Republicans screamed and hollered and lied and smeared like it was the end of the world, and Democrats decided that instead of fighting back, they would simply remove the offending piece from the board in hopes of short-circuiting the debate. After all, they weren’t giving up any of their core objectives or personnel, merely getting rid of "distractions" so they could pursue their policy goals unimpeded.
And how has that cowardice-as-strategy worked out? Every time the Democrats caved, the country moved backward. We got sucked into an idiotic war which blew up the budget and thousands of lives to make the world less safe. Concepts like rule of law and government accountability have become quaint relics of a bygone age. Passionate, committed, talented people are discarded like garbage while always-wrong corporate creatures like Geithner, Summers and Rahm are bolted to the White House floor. And unless the progressives hold firm (because no one else will), the public option will be the next sacrifice.
And the Republicans are still screaming.
The Democrats have mastered the political moonwalk: They’re looking forward, they’re swinging their arms like they’re moving forward, but it’s quite obvious that they’re sliding backward.