The White House spends a full year trashing Republicans for having no ideas on health care reform.
The White House spend a full year promising transparency while subverting it.
And now, after a year’s worth of closed backroom meetings and midnight holiday weekend legislative sessions in which Republicans had severely curtailed ability to offer amendments, President Obama wants to invite them to a televised health care summit to talk about the GOP alternatives he said didn’t exist?
President Obama said Sunday that he would convene a half-day bipartisan health care session at the White House to be televised live this month, a high-profile gambit that will allow Americans to watch as Democrats and Republicans try to break their political impasse.
Mr. Obama made the announcement in an interview on CBS during the Super Bowl pre-game show, capitalizing on a vast television audience. He set out a plan that would put Republicans on the spot to offer their own ideas on health care and show whether both sides are willing to work together.
“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,” Mr. Obama said in the interview from the White House Library.
Mr. Obama challenged Republicans to attend the meeting with their plans for lowering the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Republican leaders said they welcomed the opportunity and called on Democrats to start the debate from scratch, which the president said he would not do.
The move by Mr. Obama comes after weeks in which the administration has appeared uncertain about how to proceed on his top domestic priority since Republicans captured the Senate seat previously held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. House and Senate Democrats had been increasingly at odds over what the bill should say, how to move ahead tactically and, in some cases, whether to continue at all.
The idea for the bipartisan meeting, set for Feb. 25, was reached in recent weeks, aides said, as part of the White House strategy to intensify its push to engage Congressional Republicans in policy negotiations, share the burden of governing and put more scrutiny on Republican initiatives.
Unlike the question-time session with Republicans, the White House political machine will be in full control of the staging.
Republicans should feel zero obligation to participate in yet another White House health care dog-and-pony show:
Just say no.
If Obama really wants to learn about GOP health care reform plans, he can look them up online, where they have been for months.
And here is the Patients’ Choice Act of Sens. Coburn and Burr and Reps. Ryan and Nunes.
And here is House GOP leader Boehner’s health care reform page.
Obama has enough human stage props to feed his ego and advance his agenda.
Republicans should not be a party to it.
Here’s an idea: Republicans can tell Obama they’ll participate in his health care summit after he provides transcripts of his backroom meetings with Big Labor/SEIU.
Karl in the Green Room: “Having the GOP in for a debate after Democrats draft a ‘final bill,’ similar to that virtually universally rejected by Republicans is absurd, which ought to be among the main points Republicans make if — as appears to be the case — they choose to attend.”