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February 24, 2010

Obamacare Summit: Rumble or Snoozefest?

The bully pulpit has become digital "Punch and Judy" theatrics.

Odd that a leader who considers himself a persuasive orator would resort to surrounding himself with stage props, lights, and the cover of his Democratic colleagues whose infighting and outright fear have stalled the very centerpiece of his agenda.

So the opening salvos have been fired at insurance companies by team Obama, to soften the beachhead, while they simultaneously offer pretense at readiness to listen to "alternatives".

The White House offered an olive branch to wary Republicans, saying the healthcare plan Obama released on Monday was not the last word on the issue and promising to work to find common ground at the televised summit.

"It is important to understand that this proposal isn't meant to be the final say on the legislation," Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said in an e-mail.

But Republicans, who have demanded Democrats scrap the bills and start over, criticized Obama for signaling he would consider ramming the bill through Congress using a procedure that would bypass the need for Republican support.

I mentioned last week I'd just as soon the Republicans in Congress had told Obama to stuff his summit, there's nothing here to negotiate. The problem I have with their move on this is the underlying premise that requires them to cede ground (Americans want "some" kind of healthcare reform).

I'm also concerned about ace's thoughts that faced with severe electoral pain either way, Democrats will simply choose to pull the bandage off hard and move on because it's in their best interests to put this behind them by passing a bill and taking the hit now.

Well, they're in. All I can hope for at this point is that Republicans recognize they have overwhelming public support to spit this thing back at O and stiffen their spines further. I say that with some appreciation that they have been spitting it back already.

On a side note it would go a long way toward pulling me back into the R fold. Not that I strayed far. I just would like to know we're moving in the right direction. I'm really just talking about opening my checkbook again.

The game is afoot. Or a toe. A big toe.

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posted by Dave In Texas at 08:11 PM

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