There is politics and there is policy.
On the policy front what we saw today was the same exchange of the old talking points we have watched for a longtime. No progress was made toward any kind of health care bill. That is no surprise–this was never going to be the place to
fashion any kind of compromise.
At the end the President asked the Republicans if it was worth it to spend another month or six weeks trying to come to some agreement. I am glad he did that. I am not optimistic but a “yes” from the Republicans would be the right answer for the country.
On the political front this was a win for Republicans because it was a draw. Granted, they have a very thin health care agenda but all they had to do was hold their own over the course of the day. Politically, if not on policy, they did that. No minds were changed in the room and likely none out in the country. The left will still say get on with passing this, those on right will say kill it, and the majority of critical swing voters will still be concerned that the Democratic bills are going too far too fast in the face of the Great Recession. This is the biggest reason I don’t hold out a lot of hope there will be a lot of Republican willingness to come to the table–at least before the November elections.
Ironically, this “bipartisan summit” may have just increased the political cynicism in the country because it went off so predictably.Continue reading…