Jim DeMint (R-SC) famously said that health care would be Barack Obama’s Waterloo.

But Waterloo probably wasn’t the best analogy, in hindsight.

Waterloo was a short but decisive battle. The health care fight has turned out to be more like the battle of Stalingrad.

The battle of Stalingrad was a bloody, grinding battle over several months during World War II in which superior forces were ground down by weaker, but more highly motivated forces.

Stalin’s Order No. 227, Ни шагу назад! (“Not a step back”), came to epitomize the determination not to give in despite overwhelming odds.

While the Soviet forces ultimately prevailed in holding out in a small portion of the city and then counterattacking, land was not the decisive measure of victory. The battle drained German forces and was a turning point in the war. Even had the Germans held the city, it would have been a loss because of the cost in men and material.

Stalingrad, in hindsight, was a fight the Germans should not have picked.

So too the attempt to restructure one-sixth of the economy through overwhelming government power is a fight Obama should not have picked with the American people.

We have bled jobs while Obama has tried to force through a program the American people do not want. Had Obama’s health care agenda had popular support, the legislation would have been signed into law long ago.

The health care fight has drained the Obama administration and agenda, and the entire Democratic Party. Right now, the Democrats are pushing forward only because they are in too deep. Having continued the battle despite the lack of popular support, Democrats have left themselves no way out.

There is no path to victory for Democrats in this battle. To fail to pass “something” will be a mortal blow to Obama’s prestige; to pass “something” will be a mortal blow to Democrats in Congress in the November elections.

For Democrats, health care defeat has become defeat, and health care victory has become defeat.

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, that much is clear.

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