So maybe health care reform is just a decoy:
But other issues that once consumed Congress are now sailing into law, often without much public notice. Senior White House political adviser David Axelrod said his opponents in Congress are absorbed with defeating Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul, what he calls "the shiny object that they've chased." As a result, he contends, other measures have been left to pass into law.
Earlier in the article:
Last week, Mr. Obama signed defense-policy legislation that included an unrelated measure widening federal hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identification — 12 years after it was first introduced. The same legislation also tightened the rules of admissible evidence for military commissions, an issue that consumed Congress in debate in 2007 but received almost no attention this go-round.
Other new measures signed into law since the administration took office, all of which kicked up controversy in past congresses, make it easier for women to sue for equal pay, set aside land in the West from development, give the government the power to regulate tobacco and raise tobacco taxes to expand health insurance for children. Congress and the White House, in the new defense-policy bill, also killed weapons programs that have survived earlier attempts at termination, among them, the F-22 fighter jet, the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the Army's Future Combat System.