President Obama will convene a televised, bipartisan summit
on health care reform as he attempts to finally secure the legislation
that he and Democrats have worked on for over a year. The event, to be
held February 25 at the White House, will bring the President together
with Congressmen of both parties. The White House sees this as an
opportunity to pressure Republicans, as well as some wavering
Democrats, into supporting the long-awaited bill. Will it work?
- Provides Cover for Dems The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen calls it "a call-the-bluff moment, with the president daring Republicans to put their cards on the table." Benen doubts Republicans will change their strategy of obstructionism, but thinks they aren't the real targets. "The summit may make it easier, especially for some wavering Dems, to move forward without GOP support. 'We gave bipartisanship our best shot,' they'll say."
- What If Americans Love GOP Ideas? Politico's Tim Alberta warns, "The move seems designed to help counter the public’s distaste for legislation that Democrats crafted behind closed doors and rammed through both chambers with little Republican support. The meeting also gives the president a chance to publicly dismantle GOP ideas he deems unworkable. But the gambit is not without political risk, namely giving Republicans a national venue to sell their ideas."
- Republicans Will Rightly Balk RedState's Dan Perrin lists the many reasons Congressional Republicans never can or will support reform, wondering what Obama hopes to accomplish. "In these situations, after being pilloried, ignored and attacked by the President, who now says he wants to talk to Republicans in front of the cameras, 'You just don’t get it, do you Mr. President?' is not an unreasonable response."
- Obama's Permanent Campaign That's how National Review's Daniel Foster sees the move. "While I don't see a way the Republicans can effectively boycott this meeting, there are probably a number of things they can do to reveal it as the dog-and-pony show it truly is — just another whistle-stop on the permanent campaign."
- GOP Must Admit Minority Status The Washington Post's Ezra Klein scoffs at Republican demands for their own health care bill. "They've got the second-smallest minority in the Senate since the 1970s and they're down 40 seats in the House. It's neat how they think positive thoughts all the time, but the situation is what it is: They can write the legislation when the American people say they can. The Republicans might want to act like they're the majority, but they remain the minority. That's why they're afraid of this summit: They know that the majority can still pass a bill, and it's in the majority's interests to pass a bill, and they want to keep that from happening."