If Republicans would apply the same bipartisan fetishes that the media demands of the Democratic party, I might change my mind, but you know that will never happen, so I hope we never see another "bipartisan" summit again on anything. If the GOP gets control again -- and that's very possible -- they will lead with a sledgehammer. All Democratic politicians will be called obstructionists and the party with no ideas by the Villagers if they stand in their way. That's a given.
The Village was happy to see that it was a mostly civil event -- except for Chris Cilliza, who thought that calling out Republican lies was a "loser."
The Politico called it a draw. A draw?
And why is Dan Gerstein their go-to man? It would have been nice if the Dems had pressed the Republicans on most of their falsehoods. And maybe force Paul Ryan to explain how under Republicans, they would do away with preexisting conditions that so debilitate Americans from getting or changing their health insurance. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi did a good job, but it should have been a constant theme for them throughout the summit. Otherwise you get articles like this Politico one. Is a lie a lie if it's told politely?
Democrats have been far too reliant on our president's intelligence and speaking skills to magically transform the political dynamic. His mastery of the details of the job is impressive and after our last goofball it's a relief. But Obama's best moments yesterday were when he challenged Republicans on their lofty assumptions about what people can afford --- he repeatedly asked these Representatives and senators to imagine what it's like to met these expenses if you make 40k a year. It was a nice populist moment for the president, speaking on behalf of the average folks and it put the Republicans off balance.
Certainly debating is part of the job, and he's good at it. But I suspect that what people need from the president and the Democrats right now is a sense that they understand the urgency of their problems, not the details of how they're going to fix them. I recall Clinton relating a story during his "laser beam" interview right after he was elected that I always thought was clever. He said he'd understood that he had to act quickly when he saw a man standing beside the road with a sign that said "For god's sake just do something." That's effective stuff.
I hope that this summit is soon forgotten and they move to the next phase quickly. And I also hope the Democrats let go of the idea that this is a good way to deal with the Republicans. They are a lot slicker than the White House gives them credit for and it's never a good idea to give them a forum in which to appear as if they are operating in good faith. They are not, and it does the country no good to help them pretend otherwise.
There are plenty of post-summit wrap-ups all over the Internet, so have at it, but the White House needs to pass health care after this latest dog-and-pony show.