Monday, February 08, 2010

"Obama's Big Meeting"

I can't say that I know where this is going, but it's got the wingnuts in a tizzy, so it has that going for it.
Obama is going to hold a bipartisan, bicameral health care meeting at Blair House on February 25th. It's supposed to last half the day and be broadcast on CSPAN. Here is how Obama explained it to Katie Couric:

“I want to come back [after the Presidents Day congressional recess] and have a large meeting — Republicans and Democrats — to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Obama said in an interview with Katie Couric during CBS’s Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday.

Obama said he wants to “look at the Republican ideas that are out there.”

“If we can go, step by step, through a series of these issues and arrive at some agreements, then, procedurally, there’s no reason why we can’t do it a lot faster the process took last year,” he said.

That basically tracks what he said at the DNC.

“Let's just go through these bills — their ideas, our ideas — let's walk through them in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense,” Obama said.

Here's why this is important. Listen to what Minority Leader John Boehner has to say:

"Obviously, I am pleased that the White House finally seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation on health care,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) in a statement Sunday. He added: “The problem with the Democrats' health care bills is not that the American people don't understand them; the American people do understand them, and they don't like them.”

Actually, Boehner is dead wrong. The American people have been subjected to an unrelenting misinformation campaign without a fair referee.. Almost everything the Republicans say about the health care bills is wrong, and the rest is distorted. Making the Republicans sit down in a room with independent budget experts and health care experts and accept the facts that they've been lying and that they have no alternative plan, and doing it on television in order to keep a campaign pledge to negotiate on CSPAN? Well, for those who watch it (hopefully, it will be broadcast on cable news as well) it will probably be a slaughter in the president's favor, which is why this strange little man has the following advice for the Republicans:

Republicans would be crazy to rise to this bait. A big photo-op for Obama with zero chance for any meaningful changes to a bill that steals liberty from American citizens. Kill the bill(s) and start over from scratch.

Do not walk into this, Republicans. Standing strong against this abomination has worked so far and the American public is grateful. (Need proof? Look to Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey.)

You really do not want to follow George Armstrong Obama to the place he is leading his cavalry. This is really shaping up to be a throw the bums out election.

Bad time to join the bums.

You can see the concern. Supposedly, this is a terrible idea on Obama's part (an auto-de-fe, he calls it). But then he warns the Republicans not to let the president get a giant photo op where he'll make no concessions. The bottom line? The Republicans thought they had this health care bill whipped when they won the Massachusetts election and now they're getting nervous that the president is going to pull some kind of stunt at the last minute and save the day for the Democrats. Well, I hope so, too, but I don't write confusing posts about Little Big Horn and inviting the Republicans to join in the slaughter.

Now, as far as I am concerned, the virtue of this plan is that it will do a lot to expose the Republicans for what they are. But it won't convince any of them to vote for any health care bill of any kind. As far as I'm concerned, Rep. Joseph Cao and Sen. Olympia Snowe were the only Republican members of Congress who ever considered voting for a health bill, and Snowe's probably out of reach now.
The problem is still Democrats who are looking at bleak re-elect numbers. They're spineless and stupid, and some are just corporate shills. So, this meeting has to address that problem more than it has to do anything else. I like the idea, even if the Republicans thinks discussing health care on teevee is a way to bore us to death.

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