Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obama to the Republicans: Put Up or Shut Up.

Personally, I think he's making a mistake by not ploughing ahead with a public option, but Obama is nevertheless preparing to skewer the Republicans on healthcare.

President Obama on Monday issued his own blueprint for a health care overhaul, challenged Republicans to come forward with their ideas and laid the groundwork for an aggressive parliamentary maneuver to pass the legislation using only Democratic votes if this week brings no progress toward a bipartisan solution.

In laying out for the first time the details of what he wants in the legislation, Mr. Obama set in motion a new round of maneuvering intended to bring a bitterly divisive yearlong clash to a conclusion. With the two parties scheduled to meet Thursday for a televised session on the health care overhaul, Mr. Obama appeared intent on forcing the Republicans into a choice: either put a specific alternative on the table, giving Democrats a chance to draw pointed contrasts between the parties’ approaches, or be cast as obstructionist and not serious about addressing an issue of great concern to voters.
Of course, the Republicans are simply being obstructionist, that is what they always do.

But Obama is inviting them to a bipartisan meeting to force them to put up or shut up.
The initial Republican response suggested the two parties are more likely headed toward a showdown than toward a deal. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said Mr. Obama had “crippled the credibility” of Thursday’s meeting by proposing “the same massive government takeover of health care” that Americans had already rejected.
All indications are that they will do neither. They will simply walk into the trap which Obama is laying for them. It's becoming impossible to believe that the Republicans have any plans to reform healthcare. They certainly have none that they are prepared to bring to the table.

And the Democrats are promising that, should the Republicans fail to come up with an alternative, Obama will push this through and pass it via reconciliation.

This has set off the utterly predictable explosion of some right wing heads.

Booman looks at their comments:

This comment is typical:

Marxists don’t play by normal rules…They usually shoot those who oppose them. Rest assured that Obama would do just that if he could…Instead, he will lie, cheat and steal to get what he wants and dare anyone to stop him. He knows that we have had peaceful legislation in this country for over two hundred years, so there is no precedent for stopping a thug who needs to be physically subdued…The line in the sand has been laid at the feet of Senate Republicans…Stop playing nice! You better be prepared to shout, scream, walk-out, knock Harry Reid’s teeth out. Cane his ass on the Capitol steps…It’s been done before, and for less!

Clearly, these folks are feeling a bit upset after being told by their favorite bloggers than Obama had met his Waterloo.

The obstructionists appear to be furious that he's going to go ahead without them. "So much for bipartisanship!" they cry. So much indeed....

Apparently, in order to be truly bipartisan, one must allow the Republicans to kill all government proposals. So that, when the government is unable to pass any legislation, Sarah Palin can pipe up with, “How’s That Hope-Y Change-Y Thing Workin’ Out for Ya?”

Obama is right to push ahead without them. As Palin's comment amply illustrates, they don't want bipartisan agreement, they want to stop his government in it's tracks.


George Lakoff has a very good take on why the Republicans do this.
It was entirely predictable a year ago that the conservatives would hold firm against Obama's attempts at "bipartisanship" - finding occasional conservatives who were biconceptual, that is, shared some views acceptable to Obama on some issues, while keeping an overall liberal agenda.

The conservatives are not fools.
Because their highest value is protecting and extending the conservative moral system itself, giving Obama any victory at all would strengthen Obama and weaken the hold of their moral system. Of course, they were going to vote against every proposal and delay and filibuster as often as possible. Protecting and extending their worldview demands it.

Obama has not understood this.

We saw this when Obama attended the Republican caucus. He kept pointing out that they voted against proposals that Republicans had made and that he had incorporated, acting as if this were a contradiction. But that was to be expected, since a particular proposal that strengthens Obama and hence weakens their moral view violates their highest moral principle.

Such conservative logic explains why conservatives in Congress first proposed a bipartisan committee to study the deficit, and then voted against it.
Nor does he think that Obama will be able to shame them by exposing their tactics.
If Obama thinks he can shame them in front of their voters, he is mistaken, again. Conservative voters think the same way they do.
My take on this is that Obama is trying to show independent voters that the Republicans are simply being obstructionist before moving on and passing the legislation without them. As the comment I linked to in the post shows, there is simply point in trying to talk sense to the hard liners because, as Lakoff suggests, they think the same way the Republicans do on this subject.

Click here for full article.

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