President Obama is extending what some call an olive branch to Republicans: let’s have a bipartisan agreement on healthcare by holding a summit on the issue with both Democrats and Republicans in attendance.
Looks good on the surface. Surfaces, though, have a habit of looking good while concealing something more poisonous. Republicans are suspicious of this approach because they sense it will be a setup to picture them once again as the “Party of No.” The fear they will come away from such a summit being seen as the obstacle to success.
First, this proposal is typical of how the administration wants to solve everything—let’s sit down and talk. Yet unless it’s a talk that will shelve the current healthcare plans, it’s not worth the time for Republicans to participate. Only if there is a true openness to Republican alternatives will there be any hope for real reform.
Neither Obama nor his people have a very positive track record for true openness. They do, however, have a penchant for turning every event into a political advantage. Republicans need to be wary.
What are the odds of the president being open to Republican solutions? Look again at the second panel in the cartoon above, and you will have your answer.