Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit

I watched the Health Care Summit today on C-Span. Before I go further, I'd like to give kudos to the network.  They did a fabulous job.

Here's my take on the Summit:

Republicans were intent on arguing for a reset.  Getting a "do over" on the legislation would be a significant win for them.  Not only could they claim credit for "stopping a government takeover of health care," (which incidentally is a misrepresentation..) they would gain more time to whittle away at any attempt for reform in an election year.  Democrats would be fools to sacrifice their advantage at this stage in the game, so my money says the Republicans will be disappointed.

The President handled the matter very well today.  He appeared very Presidential and kept himself above the fray.  Throughout the day, he sought to keep the focus on solutions and grounds for compromise rather than political points.

John Boehner is a lying sack of shit.  Not only does his proposed legislation do nothing to ameliorate the health care problem in any appreciable way, it would exacerbate it.  The true beneficiary would be John Boehner and his re-election committee. Boehner outright lied through his teeth with his figures--his misuse of data was so extreme that calling him a liar is to defame real liars everywhere.

Dick Durbin nailed the problem succinctly.  He asked everyone present if they would be willing to give up their insurance so they would understand the plight of millions of Americans.  Wonder how many of those rich people would do that?  I smell a "let them eat cake" obliviousness run rampant.

Jim Cooper acquitted himself appropriately.  He reiterated that every delay in reform costs lives and pushes the debt onto succeeding generations.  Excellent point.  Jim doesn't photograph well though....

Some annoyances:  John McCain needs to get a clue.  Henry Waxman, although rather accurate, is no Mr. Personality.  

My ultimate opinion:  I think the Summit was a success.  It forced everyone to put forward their ideas to be judged on the merits.  It reduced the partisan advantage of health care reform.

The President and the Democrats have extended the olive branch of bipartisanship (moreso than the Republicans).  I suspect they will push their agenda and pass reform, either with or without Republican help.  If they're smart they'll push ahead.

We'll see.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Health Care Reform - Negotiating 101

The President is playing the Republicans masterfully with his proposed Health Care Summit.  Here's a Summary of Obama's Plan.

For too long the Republicans have complained about the lack of bipartisanship in the Health Care Reform business Bipartisanship for those ideological windbags means nothing more than giving them everything they want and getting nothing for yourself.  In my book that's not bipartisanship but being spoiled.

With the Health Care Summit looming, the Republicans, who've been nothing but obstructionist since the beginning of Obama's term, have everything to lose and nothing to gain.  Here's why:

If they refuse to participate in the summit, then the accusation that they are the "Party of NO" begins to stick in an election year.  The American People don't want obstruction, they demand real work get finished.  Refusing to play ball makes the Republicans look more partisan than ever; that will not help in an election where the best way to get elected is to look more moderate.

Secondly, if the Republicans do participate, then their role of lobbing bombs is taken from them and they must contribute to a solution.  This mean compromise is the order of the day.  Unfortunately, this batch of Republicans is the most extreme bunch we've seen in a long time, so their ability to compromise is handicapped ab initio.

The net result:  Obama and his team look reasonable and industrious while working for the greater good.  The Republicans look like partisan hacks who are only in it for advantage, but really offer nothing substantive to the debate.

Fascinating and brilliant tactic if you ask me.