I figured there would be no way in Hades the GOP would be stupid enough to fall for this yet again, but lo and behold, Obama and Co. are trying to lure them into Round Two.
President Obama made a dramatic attempt to jump-start the stalled health care debate Sunday, inviting Republicans in Congress to a half-day summit on the subject to be televised live later this month.I love this idea for so many reasons. One, it will allow the American public to see that Obama has indeed explored and adopted some of the GOP's ideas (ie: buying insurance across state lines), while exploring and rejecting others (ie: tort reform) already. It also puts the onus on the GOP to do something other than obstruct. Obama is making the (supposedly) honest effort of both inviting them to the table, and reaching out in a bipartisan fashion. And of course, it allows us to watch a replay of the total and complete ethering Obama administered a few weeks back. That was like watching Lakers vs Clippers.
The president made the offer in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric just hours before the Superbowl. Obama challenged Republicans to come to the discussion armed with their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system.
"I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama told Couric. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table... I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."
The invitation to join him later this month follows comments he made on Thursday during a speech at a Democratic fundraiser in which he said he wanted to sit with Republicans and "walk through the [health care plans] in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense."
It also comes just weeks after the president received high marks for engaging the House Republicans in a televised, 90-minute discussion at their retreat in Baltimore. The president has been hammered by critics who said his year-long push to revamp the health care system did not live up to his campaign promise to conduct the debate in the open.
The president's proposed half-day summit, which aides said could take place at the historic Blair House across the street from the White House, represents an effort by Obama to hit the reset button on the top domestic priority of his first year in office.
Finally, it really puts the spotlight on the GOP to agree to something. Obama can rifle on and on about the problems with healthcare, as the cameras will undoubtedly pan the crowd to show many Republicans grimacing and talking greasy under their breaths. If he walks away from this exchange, publicly adopts another notable GOP solution, and they still don't vote for it, he'll have all the ammo needed to push his legislation through via reconciliation, while claiming that he tried, but his opponents didn't meet him halfway because they were more concerned with getting re-elected than helping the American people. Even better, if God forbid, he gets enough votes from the right to push this through the correct way, he removes a huge campaign talking point from this adversaries. After all, you can't possibly call the guy a Kenyan Socialist dictator with a straight face when you just co-signed on his most Socialist of initiatives. These guys will have no
It's hard to see why the GOP gains from this, which is why I find it hard to believe they are going to agree to it. We shall see.
Question: Is this Healthcare Summit going to be must-see TV, or will Obama suddenly revert to the weak old "bipartisan Barry" we couldn't stand in Year One? What does the GOP stand to gain from getting themselves outwitted yet again on live TV?
Obama invites GOP to health-care summit [WashPost]