I saw President Obama talking to Katie Couric before the Super Bowl, and I didn't breathe for a few minutes as I took in what he was proposing. I guess they are spooked by the losses of the mythical independent voters in recent polling, but even if that's the case, it's a horrible idea from my perspective.
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.
I understand the strategy behind them doing this, but the country is too polarized at this point to really turn perceptions enough to make any difference.
This will accomplish nothing except to possibly empower Republican obstructionists even more. They will tell us what wonderful new ideas they have and that if only Obama opened up competition in all the states, it would solve all the problems in health care. Here's Crying Boehner's response:
"The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access. The House Republican alternative, which would lower premiums by up to 10 percent while increasing access for Americans without health insurance, would be a solid starting point. I look forward to discussing these issues with the Democratic Leadership and the President."
America didn't elect President Obama so that Republicans could rule the legislative process, but through the guidance of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, that's what's happening now. There is no way Republicans will sign on to anything at this point unless the president gives in to all of their demands.
Funny thing how Obama keeps reaching out to the other side instead of his own. I'd much rather have a liberal blogger meeting with President Obama instead of having to endure this.
Digby also adds a lot to this discussion and brings a really smart observation to the discussion. Much sharper than what you'd hear from the MSM.
It's fascinating, of course, because it's gossip and because some in the White House and others close to the administration have decided to try to dethrone these four. The courtiers are rebelling...read on
UPDATE: And here comes the reinforcements. There's and article in FT.com that says the Chicago team is hurting the Obama White House and I can't disagree on that one.
Financial Times Washington Bureau Chief Edward Luce has written a granularly informed insider account about those who hold the keys to the inner most sanctum of Obama Land -- Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod.
The article goes on to document how people like Health Secretary and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius were kept off television -- along with others like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Add to this others that Luce does not name -- including important voices like Paul Volcker and Austan Goolsbee on Obama's economic team, who saw their public voices choked off by a media-dominating Lawrencean Summers with support from Robert Gibbs and Rahm Emanuel.
I've been complaining about the lack of surrogate speakers to go out and sell his ideas and the lack of a cohesive legislative strategy and that's been a huge problem also. Read the piece---it's very good. Oh, and Obama is the president and isn't a child so he still has the ultimate say.