Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama, At Last, Threatens To Move On Without the Republicans.

I watched the first hour and a bit of this, had friends round for dinner, and then watched the last hour and a bit until Obama finally summed it all up.

All the Republicans seemed to be saying was that Obama ought to rip the whole thing up and start again. They had several well rehearsed points which they had come to make, the most obvious being the fact that the bill was 2,400 pages long, as if that fact, in itself, told us something meaningful about the bill.

The Republicans came across as a bunch of resentful, rich white men asking,"Why should I pay for you?"

Of course they tried to hide that fact behind concern for working Americans, but over a six hour period it was a falsehood which proved impossible to keep up. They were so obviously singing from a well rehearsed song sheet.

And the people who supposedly want the government to keep it's hands off Medicare, revealed themselves to be no great supporters of that cause.

The Democrats want to cover more than 30 million people over 10 years; Republicans said the nation could not even afford the entitlement programs, like Medicare, that already exist, much less start new ones.
I thought the day belonged to Obama, who even Republicans were reported to be impressed with.

Mr. Obama’s mastery of the intricacies of health policy was impressive even to some Republicans.

“It was sort of his classroom,” Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who delivered his party’s opening statement, said in an interview. “I was glad we did it, because the president’s megaphone is the biggest one and when he shares it with Republicans like he did, that gives us several hours to make our case, and I thought we made it well.”

I disagree with Alexander, I didn't think that they made their case well at all. They looked to me like obstructionists who had come along simply to repeat the phrase that Obama ought to rip the bill up and start again. Sometimes their talking points became so obvious that it was impossible not to pull them up on it.
Mr. Obama looked wryly at Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican whip, who addressed the president with a stack of papers in front of him. “Let me just guess,” Mr. Obama said, barely containing his smirk, “that’s the 2,400-page bill.”
The person who most gave away the fact that the Republicans had come here to preach and not to negotiate was John McCain.

Reminding Mr. Obama that both of them had run for office “promising change in Washington,” Mr. McCain delivered a lengthy talk deriding the Democrats’ bill as being produced “behind closed doors” and stuffed with “unsavory deal-making.”

Mr. Obama finally tried to cut the senator off. “We’re not campaigning anymore,” the president said. “The election is over.”

McCain actually said nothing which could be construed as looking for a way in which the two sides could come to an agreement, he merely delivered a litany of complaints implying that Obama and he had both promised change and that Obama had not delivered. The notion that he would have achieved what Obama was failing to do hung in the air; unspoken, but implied.

I can't have been the only person watching who winced imagining what might have been had the United States been foolish enough to elect this angry little man.

By day’s end, it seemed clear that the all-day televised session might have driven the parties even farther apart. Republicans said there was no way they would vote for Mr. Obama’s bill, and Democrats were talking openly about pushing it through Congress on a simple majority vote using a controversial parliamentary maneuver known as reconciliation.

As he wrapped up the session, Mr. Obama chided Republicans for advocating “baby steps” and rejected their call to start over, declaring Americans “don’t want us to wait.” He said that if he did not see any significant movement toward bipartisan cooperation, Democrats would push ahead on their own and leave it to voters to render their judgment.

“That’s what elections are for,” the president said.

Obama has hinted before that he doesn't care if he is a one term president, as long as he gets things done; and, in the end, that was the threat he was left issuing here.

He will push ahead with this, with or without Republican support, and let the cards fall where they may come the next election.

If he could achieve this, and force the Israelis into a meaningful peace deal with the Palestinians, I would say it mattered not a jot if he was re-elected; he would have done enough to leave his mark on history with either of those two things.

And he has wasted almost a year trying to find compromise and bipartisanship with this group of greedy, uncompromising and petulant children.

As he said during his most impressive moment at Invesco Field:
There is no compromise to be made with these people, they are simply not interested, nor are they being honest about their objections.

It's long past time to move on without them.


Here's an example of the way Obama easily dismantled their talking points, and of the way Cantor was called out for his use of cheap "props".

Obama: We could set up a system where food was probably cheaper than it is right now if we just eliminated meat inspectors, and we eliminated any regulations in terms of how food is distributed and how it's stored. I'll bet in terms of drug prices we would definitely reduce prescription drug prices if we didn't have a drug administration that makes sure that we test the drugs so that they don't kill us, but we don't do that.

We make some decisions to protect consumers in every aspect of our lives.

Click here for full article.

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