The initial blush of President Barack Obama's health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality — he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.
Voters may not buy it.
And that could mean a disastrous midterm election year for Obama and his fellow Democrats.
"We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people," the president said late Sunday, beginning his sales pitch from the White House one hour after Congress passed the sweeping measure.
"This isn't radical reform but it is major reform," he added. "This is what change looks like."
Obama and the Democrats are certain to look for a much-needed political lift from the legislation, a capstone for a young presidency and a party after decades of trying to remake the nation's health care system.
But there's no guarantee they'll get it.