“A president with an activist agenda met a Senate all but incapable of action. The mix of big government and no government proved toxic for the Democrats.” It's there in "Hamlet," in Shakespeare's most famous soliloquy. Item, under reasons "not to be": "the law's delay." Shakespeare meant court proceedings, but there are times in a nation's life when this could just as well refer to lawmaking. To take forever to pass one law -- to take the entire first year of Barack Obama's presidency -- might be permissible if all else were well, or if other needed legislation were not held up until that one law, the reform of American health care, were enacted.