Quick Thoughts on the Healthcare Summit

Watching live.  I think that the main audience here is nervous Congressional Democrats. Not in the sense that this will actually move public opinion; it won’t, nobody other than real political junkies watch this stuff.  I think it’s more to give them a sense of how the midterm election debates are going to play out.  The Republican talking points are being tested against the Democratic talking points and President Obama’s hope is that after this summit Democrats will feel comfortable defending the bill.
This summit has expressed in a microcosm the simple reality that Congressional Democrats really should hitch their wagon to Obama as much as they humanly can.  He’s much more intelligent, a much more effective communicator, and much more popular than them.  I’m not really sure why they insist on asserting their independence when it seems that their best hope for re-election is to associate themselves with him.
Also, the Republicans clearly have an incentive to kill the bill rather than negotiate.  Which is as it should be! They don’t believe that it’s proper for the government to extend health care coverage to everyone, and that’s completely their prerogative.  Their arguments won’t convince Barney Frank that we should abolish the estate tax either. It’s a real mystery why Democrats believe there’s anything to be gained from negotiating with them.

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