Congressional Republicans are about to make a mistake. Earlier last week, Obama announced that he would like to meet with Congressional Republicans about health care in a televised event. This is a trap for Republicans. It's Obama in place of Lucy, waiting for the Republican Charlie Brown to try and kick the football. Here is how it is being spun by the Washington Post.
President Obama brought Republicans to the negotiating table on Tuesday, hoping to stem a steady deterioration in relations between the two parties that has brought business in Washington to a standstill, left the Democratic agenda in tatters and angered voters who are eager to have lawmakers address their concerns.
The two-hour session was part of a renewed drive by the White House to create legislation by consensus, regardless of party label. Obama tried the approach after he took office, but it did not take hold. . . .
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests that the public is frustrated by the bickering and recriminations. According to the survey, 57 percent of Americans consider the loss of the Senate Democrats' filibuster-proof supermajority a "good thing," but few think Republicans should wield their new power to block bills frequently. Nearly six in 10 say that Republicans are not doing enough to forge compromise with Obama on important issues, while nearly half view the president as doing too little to overcome differences with the GOP.
On the issue of health-care reform, public attitudes about the stalled Democratic legislation remain virtually deadlocked. But nearly two-thirds of voters, or 63 percent, want Congress to keep trying to tackle the issue. . . .
One, what has brought Washington to a standstill has not been the Republicans who, until two weeks ago, couldn't effect any piece of legislation the left wanted to steamroll through Congress. Democrats brought Washington to a standstill. Two, if this poll WaPo talks about wasn't a push poll I'll eat my hat. It is at the very least an outlier. Every poll I have seen to date puts health care reform a couple of rungs below the top of what voters care about, and the health care monstrasity that has been crafted by the left is what gave Scott Brown his victory in blue Mass. This article could have been authored by Robert Gibbs. And lastly, the claims to bipartisanship efforts by Obama are just surreal.
The 2700 page Healthcare monstrosity is dead - and there is not a single thing inside that bill, not a even a single period or comma, that should be resuscitated. It was a bill that Republicans were all but completely shut out of - by Obama, Reid and Pelosi - from the start. Indeed, through much of 2009, Obama closed the doors of the White House to the Republicans on the health care issue. And lest we forget, there was his infamous response to Republican calls for bipartisanship in regards to the Stimiulus bill last January - "I won." That's right, and he owns it all now.
That is precisely why Obama now wants to make a dog and pony show of "bipartisanship" in the run up to the 2010 elections? Spare me. He wants to pass his radical agenda without change. Barring that, he wants to portray himself and his far, far left agenda as middle of the road, while Republicans are made out to be the "obstructionists" - and in that effort, he will be given the full support by the MSM, as the opening salvo by WaPo makes clear.
CBS's Mark Knoll deals with the reality of "bipartisanship." He assesses that Obama's calls for bipartisanship are nothing more or less than a call for Republicans to surrender:
Unannounced, President Obama took to the lectern in the White House briefing room today to give a personal readout of his meeting earlier with congressional leaders of both parties.
"Despite the political posturing that often paralyzes this town, there are many issues upon which we can and should agree, he said.
It was more a plaintive plea than a political observation. His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he's searching for a way to get them out of lockup.
In this 13th month of his presidency, he's anxious to pass a jobs bill and be seen addressing an unemployment rate that only last week declined from double digits. And his efforts to enact bills on energy, financial regulatory reform and especially health care are stuck in Congress despite the solid majority his party holds in both chambers.
He's appealing for a spirit of bipartisanship - urging Democrats and Republicans alike "to put aside matters of party for the good of the country."
It's a familiar refrain from U.S. presidents who can't get their way in Congress. . . .
What these presidential appeals for bipartisanship always mean is: do it my way.
Mr. Obama said he "won't hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party." But he wants his way. He wants his energy policy enacted along with his jobs bill, his financial regulatory reform and his health care plan.
And if the opposition continues to block his objectives, he said he "won't hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that's rooted not in substantive disagreement but in political expedience."
When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its "obstinacy" and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his. . . .
(H/T Hot Air)
This offer from Obama of a televised meeting with Republicans on health care holds no upsides for Republicans. What Republicans should do is recount how they have been shut out of the crafting of the bill. They should explain that there is no way to simply tweak this health care monstrosity in a way to make it anything but a drain on, if not a destroyer of, our economy, They should point out that the far left health care plan has been rejected by the American people. Then they should announce a stand on principle - that unless Obama is willing to throw out the health care bill and start over on a true bi-partisan bill, there is nothing to talk about on that issue. That should be coupled with an offer to meet in a televised meeting on jobs, unsustainable deficits, profligate spending, spending and tax cuts, and a national couterterrorism effort dangerously reduced to tatters - the immediate priorities of the American people (well, except for the last one, which is my own). Let Obama choke on that one.