“We’ll have that meeting,” Connecticut Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd said yesterday of today’s health care summit at the Blair House. “But far more important, after that meeting, you can either join us or get out of the way.”
In his opening remarks at today’s summit, President Barack Obama said that he was encouraged by what he called a “show of bipartisanship” in the U.S. Senate when four Republicans–including Massachusetts’ own wino-replacing RINO, Scott Brown–voted in favor of what the Democratic Party leadership said was a “jobs” bill. Again, it seems that the president does not seem to understand that true bipartisanship doesn’t come at the end of the legislative process when a few misguided members of the minority party joins the majority — true bipartisanship starts at the beginning of the process, starting with an exchange of ideas before anything is on paper.
And, to me, that’s the crux of the Democrats’ legislative misunderstanding when it comes to health care reform. We already know that they refuse to listen to and fail to understand the American people; by continuing to dangle the prospect of reconciliation, and by saying things like “you can either join us or get out of the way,” it’s obvious that today’s meeting–something that should have occurred at the start of the process rather than one year and nearly 3,000 pages of legislation later–is little more than political theater.
To be honest, the Internet connection on which I’ve been streaming the meeting has been ducking in and out. But before I get to some notes on what I have seen so far, take a look at a fantastic op-ed piece by House Minority Leader John Boehner at AOL News:
For all the ink spilled over Thursday’s health care summit, it really boils down to one question: Who is listening to the American people?
Americans want Washington to scrap this job-killing government takeover of health care and start over with a step-by-step approach that will lower health care costs.
That’s not the “Republican” view. It’s the view of the American people. They know the bill that is set to be rammed through Congress will cause their health care premiums to go up and the quality of their health care to go down. They’re asking their elected leaders in Washington to stop and start over on reforms that reflect the realities families and small businesses face today.
Read the rest of it. It goes to much of what I wrote yesterday when I noted that, in admonishing Republicans and saying that they should “stop crying” about the possible use of reconciliation to pass health care reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was actually admonishing the American people, who have resoundingly come out and denounced this legislation.
Now, in no particular order, a few notes on what I’ve seen so far, spotty Internet connection and all:
- Paraphrasing President Barack Obama, on an inequitable distribution of speaking time: “I get more time because I’m president.” Thanks for reminding us. See video HERE.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander, in his remarks opening up for Republicans, urged the president to take reconciliation off of the table. He sat stone-faced. Sen. Harry Reid, obviously delusional, actually said that “no one has talked about reconciliation.” Consider what Reid said on The Hill’s Briefing Blog just five days ago, when he affirmed that Democrats would indeed use reconciliation “in the next 60 days.”
- The president got into it with Republcans with regard to whether Americans would face increasing premiums. Republicans said that the president was wrong to insist that premiums would decrease, while the president maintained that he was correct. So, who’s right? Consider this, from the Congressional Budget Office: “Average Premiums Per Policy In The Nongroup Market In 2016 Would Be Roughly $5,800 For Single Policies And $15,200 For Family Policies Under The Proposal, Compared With Roughly $5,500 For Single Policies And $13,100 For Family Policies Under Current Law.”
- Overall, Obama seems to be holding his own as well as can be expected when neither fact nor common sense is on his side. Despite the lack of TelePrompTer, there were a few rhetorical flourishes he used to make his point — one was something about his old, beat-up car he had after college; another was about the “ten letters out of 40,000″ delivered to him in the White House residence each night. It makes me wonder what those ten letters, chosen for him by Rahm Emanuel or one of his other in-house ideologues, actually say, and how many are truly representative of the nation. I mean, if you were driving around Marin County following the 2004 election and asked people who they voted for, very few would say “George W. Bush” … are we then to believe that nobody across the entire nation voted for Bush? It’s all about agenda-setting.
- Paul Ryan is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. He’s articulate. He’s persuasive. He’s right. And after being confronted with actual numbers–all adding up to true cost of the Democrats’ health care reform being $2.3 trillion over ten years–all Obama could say was that he didn’t want to get “bogged down” by numbers. No kidding.
- The president brought up how his plan will allow people to keep their own health care insurance and providers. Take a look at THIS PIECE, from American Spectator.
- I love how it’s “reform” Medicare Advantage, when the president brings it up. Try “CUT” Medicare Advantage.
- Some information on premium costs and buying insurance across state lines: “A resident of California could see his or her health insurance premiums reduced by about 50 percent if he or she could purchase health insurance in neighboring Oregon. A resident of New York could see his or her health insurance premiums reduced by 57 percent if he or she could purchase health insurance in neighboring Pennsylvania.” Read more HERE.
- If we’re not asking seniors to take the brunt of Medicare Advantage costs and instead are asking health care providers to quit “giving people four x-rays” when one would be okay, as California Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra suggests, isn’t that an example of government intervening between doctors and patients? How about freedom, for a change?
- Chuck Grassley is right in noting that we need to look after small business is everything we do. Everything. And, generally, the best thing that government can do for small business is to get the heck out of the way.
Look, we could go point by point by point, but nothing will change. Nothing coming out of the Democrats’ mouths are anything different than what we’ve heard since the mid-1990s, and definitely over the past year. And the Republicans aren’t saying much different, either — frankly, they don’t need to, as the facts and the American people are on their side.
As I look at this thing, I cannot help but think of how much more effective something like this would have been if it was done at the beginning of the process, before the 5,000 pages of legislation were penned in the House and Senate, before Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson received their kickback, and before Chris Dodd said what all the Democrats are thinking and informed us all that only the scant appearance of bipartisanship is what matters to them.
Everything needs to be scrapped and the slate wiped clean, or Republicans need to fight this thing to the death. And when it comes to the possibility of reconciliation, about which Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin just said that “elections have consequences,” I have only three words to say:
Bring it on.
Bring it on, Harry Reid. By all means, force through the single largest entitlement program in the history of this nation. Force through a massive reform that the vast majority of Americans simply do not want. A rejuvenated Republican party will dismantle this monument to Barack Obama piece by piece, and will scatter the pieces on the floor along with the ashes of what used to be the Democratic Party.