Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Health Care Failure: Leave it to the Eager Beaver

John Boehner and Eric Cantor sent a letter to Rahm Emmanuel in response to Obama's request for a bipartisan discussion on health care.  Boehner and Cantor detail their list of "concerns" about the discussion and suggest they would be reluctant to attend unless the current bills are scrapped.  They asked that reconciliation be taken off the table and wondered whether the special interest groups the administration had negotiated with were going to be there as well.  In short it was a laundry list of the failures of the Obama administration that played a huge role in their inability to pass their signature piece of legislation.

Who better to answer such a letter than Baghdad Bob Gibbs?   The response is a stellar piece of revisionist history and obfuscation:

The President is adamant that we seize this historic moment to pass meaningful health insurance reform legislation. He began this process by inviting Republican and Democratic leaders to the White House on March 5 of last year, and he’s continued to work with both parties in crafting the best possible bill. He’s been very clear about his support for the House and Senate bills because of what they achieve for the American people: putting a stop to insurance company abuses, extending coverage to millions of hardworking Americans, getting control of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and reducing the deficit.

The President looks forward to reviewing Republican proposals that meet the goals he laid out at the beginning of this process, and as recently as the State of the Union Address. He’s open to including any good ideas that stand up to objective scrutiny. What he will not do, however, is walk away from reform and the millions of American families and small business counting on it. The recent news that a major insurer plans to raise premiums for some customers by as much as 39 percent is a stark reminder of the consequences of doing nothing.
I think the President's historic moment to pass health care has passed, someone drove a truck through it.  Moreover, it is Obama who must show bipartisanship and repair his standing with Independents and he isn't likely to accomplish that by pretending he actually worked with Republicans when the evidence clearly shows otherwise.  He continues to believe he can pull the wool over voters' eyes with flowery words and a tight script.  He forgets he now has a record and frankly Independents are less than impressed with what they've seen.

Now he is signalling he has no intention of abandoning the bills the public has rejected.  I am guessing he thinks he can recreate the House Republican retreat and somehow convince the public they didn't get his point and make the Republicans look the fools in one fell swoop.  He is repeating some of the language he used that day suggesting he will review proposals that meet his "goals" and ones that stand up to objective scrutiny.  He continues to miss the fact his goals aren't consistent with the voters goals and they have looked at his proposals with an objective eye and found them wanting.

Obama is signalling the posts will always be moved here and likely has no intention of negotiating anything but his image.  He needs to put on a show to back up his positioning with lap dog Katie Couric:
"I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama said. "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."
so sayeth Eddie Haskell from the White House
Rush Limbaugh wisely pointed out earlier this was all a trap and advises Republicans to just say no.  The Republicans responded by asking that they start over, a position supported by the American people by the way, now Obama has said no.  Well Baghdad Bob said no, technically, as if he wouldn't run that by Obama first.  Obama buys himself a bit of plausible deniability in who backed down on efforts for bipartisanship.  Obama is the supposed eager beaver for health care though and here he proves he isn't serious about bipartisanship.  My advice to the Republican leadership, FWIW, send another letter asking Obama and crew to get back to you when they are genuinely serious about a bipartisan effort to reform health care.  They will be waiting a long time for a serious response.

More on this at Memeorandum

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