Obama’s Healthcare Summit

by Brien Jackson

I don’t really understand what’s so hard to get about this idea:

President Barack Obama is planning to host a televised meeting with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on health care reform.

The Feb. 25 meeting is an attempt to reach across the aisle but not a signal that the president plans to start over, as Republicans have demanded, a White House official said.

 “I want to come back [after the Presidents Day congressional recess] and have a large meeting — Republicans and Democrats — to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Obama said in an interview with Katie Couric during CBS’s Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday.

The idea strikes me as pretty straight-forward; the White House is hoping to re-create the dynamic from the House GOP retreat. That is, the Republicans will throw out a lot of false, insane, claims, and Obama and healthcare experts will be right there to deftly bat them down. The goal being, to make Obama look good, and House Republicans look ridiculous, just like in Baltimore. And by announcing it so publicly, Obama has put the GOP in a bit of a bind; if they don’t show up, the White House will be further able to paint them as the ‘party of no” and point out that they aren’t offering alternative solutions. Not that any of that matters, of course, at the end of the day, it’s just an attempt to get something on C-Span, and create some political theater that generates some momentum for Democrats on the hill to pass the bill. I really don’t understand why we’re pretending not to get this.