There is one alternative that is both perhaps best for the country and hardest for Obama. He could relent not to Republicans but to the greater good.
He could delay full implementation past the 2014 elections, which would accomplish two things: One, he could iron out the wrinkles that are now apparent.
Two, Democrats would get to slide through another election cycle without the most visibly painful part of Obamacare — the individual mandate.
What, really, does Obama have to lose?
Only face, the pain of which passes.
What he would gain is the legacy that escapes so many these days — proof that he is a leader who does the right thing, even if it hurts his pride just a little.
Republicans, who will have banished themselves to wander a while longer in the desert, may have drawn a line too far.
Kathleen Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.