Monday, February 08, 2010

Using "bipartisan" as a cudgel

House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor have responded to President Obama's call for a health care summit. Here's an excerpt:

Your answers to these critical questions will help determine whether this will be a truly open, bipartisan discussion or merely an intramural exercise before Democrats attempt to jam through a job-killing health care bill that the American people can’t afford and don’t support. ‘Bipartisanship’ is not writing proposals of your own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support. Bipartisan ends require bipartisan means.These questions are also designed to try and make sense of the widening gap between the President’s rhetoric on bipartisanship and the reality. We cannot help but notice that each of the President’s recent bipartisan overtures has been coupled with harsh, misleading partisan attacks.
One of their questions in search of an answer is whether the Democrats will take budget reconciliation off the table as a scheme to cram HCR through Congress. They also want to invite auditors from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to discuss the costs of the legislation. Plus, they request a "standard of transparency and openness" in that all future negotiations take place in public.

All pretty reasonable stuff, in the interest of hearing out dissenting views and fostering open debate, and conditions that President Obama will never agree to. I think the Obami got a little too excited about the Presdient's meeting with the GOP last month and they hope the magic will translate to health care reform discussions. The man still believes that if he just explains it to the American people – slowly and with small words – the public will come around.

Extra – Great review by the Minuteman: "Obama announces plan to host Republican surrender ceremony." Heh.

Related - Politico: "For a president who ran on uplifting themes like change and hope, Barack Obama spends an awful lot of time scolding Americans about how he hopes they'll change."

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