Following the election victories in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts and Obama's continuing slide in the polls, I thought it would be a waste of time for Republicans to participate in Obama's healthcare dog and pony show -- a.k.a. Health Care Summit. Let him continue on his free fall... pushing policies that run counter to the essence of what it means to be an American. That was my thought.
I stand corrected. Yes, the so-called Health Care Summit is nothing that will go down in history. It basically accomplished nothing from a policy standpoint, and was a legislative waste of time. However, from a political perspective, the summit gave the American people a glimpse of two items that will help Republicans in the long run: Republicans actually speaking out and not backing down, and Obama's arrogance.
Item #1 was my main cause of concern regarding the summit. Obama has been on television so many times. He feels he owns the members of the media. Remember his health care townhall? What a joke. There was no debate. No serious opposition. It was a glorified infomercial sanctioned by the media. No thanks. We don't need Republicans to fall into that trap, especially with the momentum we have.
But, the Republicans came armed and ready. With the AP story on GOPUSA -- Obama, Republicans clash at heated health summit -- the headline says it all.
With tempers flaring, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans clashed in an extraordinary live-on-TV summit Thursday over the right prescription for the nation's broken health care system, talking of agreement but holding to long-entrenched positions that leave them far apart.
"We have a very difficult gap to bridge here," said Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican. "We just can't afford this. That's the ultimate problem."
House Republican Leader John Boehner took Obama to task on the massive cost of the health care plan:
"The first thing is we've heard from the two budget directors about our fiscal condition. We have Medicare that's going broke. We have Social Security going broke. We have Medicaid that's bankrupting not only the federal government but all the states and yet, here we are having a conversation about creating a new entitlement program that will bankrupt our country. And it will bankrupt our country. It's not that we can't do health insurance reform to help bring down costs to help save the system. This bill, this 2,700-page bill will bankrupt our country."
Boehner went on to call Obama's plan a "dangerous experiment" and said it would amount to a "government takeover of health care."
Then, there is Obama. In a meeting that lasted nearly six hours, Democrats dominated the time over 2 to 1. According to timekeeping at National Review Online, Democrats spoke for 114 minutes, and Republicans spoke for 110 minutes. However, Obama added another 119 minutes with his own rhetoric.
As noted in Obama: No tight scorekeeping needed at summit, "Barack Obama told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that time wasn't equally divided between GOP and Democratic talk at the health care summit because 'I'm the president.'"
Obama then counters a point made by Sen. John McCain by saying, "The election's over."
First, McCain makes a point in a respectful way, and Obama's first response is to call him "John." I wonder what the reaction would be if McCain called him Barack? Then, this dig about the election being over only underscores Obama's arrogance and complete lack of respect, not only for McCain, but the American people. If Obama truly respected the American people and the American way of life, he would not be pushing through policies that run counter to what the public wants. The American public does not want this bill, and yet Obama keeps pushing.
Obama also "scolded" Rep. Eric Cantor for actually bringing a copy of the Senate bill to the meeting. Obama called it "the type of political stunt that gets in the way of lawmakers having a serious conversation."
This was a serious conversation? Obama and the Democrats continue to shut out Republican ideas. They continue to push forward a bill the American people do not want. And now they talk about using legislative tactics to force it through despite Republican and some Democrat opposition.
And so, the summit wasn't a complete waste of time. Republicans did not back down, which has been their pattern for years and years. And Obama continues to show his elitist nature, and that will certainly not endear him to the American public. Now, let's just defeat this bill once and for all. Maybe then, we can focus on medical malpractice reform and other issues that really will bring down health care costs without taking power away from hard-working Americans and putting it in the hands of the federal government.