What Bi-Partisanship Really Means
Especially in cases like this. Mark Knoller nails it:
When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its “obstinacy” and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his.
Bingo. Spot on. So why, again, are the Republicans agreeing to this televised “bi-partisan” health care summit?
“At this late date, it is hard to see how bipartisanship is going to occur,” said Ron Pollack, the executive director of the healthcare reform activism group Families USA. “Quite frankly, I don’t understand how this dialogue is going to move the process forward other than by demonstrating that the opposition only cares to derail reform.”
Liberals see the summit as a chance for Obama to be seen responding directly to Republican critiques and for him to critique their ideas. “It isn’t going to change the prospects of passing reform,” said Richard Kirsh, national campaign manager of Healthcare for America Now, a union-affiliated activism organization. “It’ll be one more chance for people maybe to understand that Republicans have no ideas to actually solve the healthcare crisis.”
That last line is it’s purpose and, if it is anything like the performance at the Republican retreat, that will be the outcome. With the president saying he won’t reset the process or trash the present version of the bill, it should be obvious that this isn’t really about bi-partisanship or any desire to include the GOP or its ideas. It is a plan to embarrass them publicly and gain political points.
House Republicans are fresh from an encounter with the president at their retreat in Baltimore last month, where he garnered rave reviews for his performance taking questions from GOP lawmakers on live television.
“It may be that the president came off looking pretty good during the Republican retreat and maybe they think there is a political gain to be had from this. My side needs to plan very carefully for this,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas). “It’s a press event, not a policy event.”
Of course it is. So again, why has the GOP agreed to participate?
And, of course, the irony is that a process which has been entirely closed to the public, after a campaign promise of transparency, is now suddenly thrown open to the cameras? Yeah, no reason to be suspicious about that, is there?
The Republicans: Oz’s scarecrow of politics.