A TALE OF TWO HEADLINES…. Paul Krugman makes a point that congressional Democrats may want to keep in mind over the next several days.

By this time next week we’ll have seen huge headlines about health care. These headlines will either read “Democrats do it!”, followed by various Republicans and their apologists complaining that what the Dems did wasn’t nice, or “Democrats — losers again”, followed by Republicans going bwahahaha.

And it’s up to a handful of Democrats to decide which headlines we get. They’re out of their minds if they don’t choose door #1.

It’s tempting to think this would be obvious to lawmakers, but I don’t think it is.

It doesn’t take much of an imagination to visualize what the media narrative will be after the debate over health reform ends. If Dems fail, they can expect the rest of the year to be dominated by stories about how a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate both passed a monumental reform bill, but the hapless party managed to screw it up anyway.

If Dems succeed, they can expect news reports about what the new law does and does not do — “How the new health care law affects you” — which would further help improve the policy’s public standing, while at the same time seeing “comeback kid” coverage, with Dems snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, rather than the other way around.

Just today, the Washington Post, speculating about the possible success of the reform push, ran an article about whether “this be the week congressional Democrats reverse their fortunes.” Perry Bacon Jr. asked, “Will this week be the start of a political comeback” for Dems?

If the party wants the answer to be “yes,” it’s going to have to succeed on health reform. It’s really not that complicated.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.