You’ve got to hand it to Nancy Pelosi. The woman has guts. As Bill Kristol explains, the Speaker of the House has combined two of the most unpopular causes in history (cutting Medicare and raising taxes) into one svelte, 2,000-page piece of legislation:

With Barack Obama as her front man, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi–the real power in the Democratic party–has gone Clinton and Gingrich one better. Clinton tried to hike taxes. Gingrich sought to cut Medicare. Pelosi wants to do both at once. This is quite a feat: She’s combined the most unpopular Democratic and Republican proposals of the last generation in one piece of legislation.

And her timing is impeccable. Pelosi has decided to raise taxes and discourage employment just as joblessness approaches 10 percent. She’s decided to cut Medicare reimbursements just as seniors’ retirement accounts have shrunk. She’s decided to advance a huge spending bill just as the deficit is at historic highs. She’s decided to insist on federal funding of abortion just as the issue seems to have reached some sustainable middle ground. And she’s decided to put forward a 2,000-page piece of legislation with a mind-boggling array of scary instances of bureaucratic coercion and farcical examples of nanny-state liberalism–all nuggets of political gold for Republicans–at a time when the public is sick of statist overreaching and big-government meddling.

Kristol notes that the “arm-twisting and palm-greasing” on the House side haven’t yet gotten the Democrats to the magic number to pass the bill. There are many reasons why it might collapse. The most surprising: swine flu. Swine flu, now officially an emergency, shows how well government runs health-care programs. Kristol notes:

Turn on your local news to find out. You’ll see false reassurances, broken promises, rationing which doesn’t provide the promised rations, queues lengthening while supplies run out, and lots of bureaucrats explaining just why things aren’t working quite as their centrally planned plans had planned.

My own favorite: giving swine flu vaccinations to Gitmo detainees before pregnant US woman, a bone-headed move reportedly blasted by Joe Lieberman.