Republicans Balk At Bipartisanship (UPDATED)
In spite of the whining on the right that the president hasn’t included them in the health care reform process (even though 161 Republican amendments were passed), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor says there’s “not much to talk about” unless the Democrats scrap their plans.
After going it alone on health care reform for nearly a year, President Obama has decided he wants to bring Republicans into the conversation. Here’s the problem: unless the President and Speaker Pelosi are willing to scrap their government take over and hit the reset button, there’s not much to talk about.
And the media Republicans who carry anti-Obama water continue the message that they won’t want to engage with the president on this issue, as Think Progress notes:
Cantor’s stubborn refusal to discuss health care openly with Obama appears to have support in the conservative base. Michelle Malkin wrote today that “Republicans should feel zero obligation to participate in yet another White House health care dog-and-pony show: Just say no.” On Fox News, conservative consultant Andrea Tantaros — who works for a PR firm that represents health care clients — declared that “the only way Republicans should meet with” Obama is if he “is committed to starting over, scrapping that stinker of a bill.”
So the next time you hear them complaining about how they’re left out of the process, remember they’re not telling the truth.
UPDATE: Cantor and House Minority Leader John Boehner sent the White House a letter laying out conditions for a bipartisan summit. Rather than accepting with openness, here’s the second sentence:
…you may remember that last May, Republicans asked President Obama to hold bipartisan discussions on health care in an attempt to find common ground on health care, but he declined and instead chose to work with only Democrats.
A condition for meeting appears to be throwing out what’s been done so far.
Assuming the President is sincere about moving forward on health care in a bipartisan way, does that mean he will agree to start over so that we can develop a bill that is truly worthy of the support and confidence of the American people?
And the snark:
The President has also mentioned his commitment to have “experts” participate in health care discussions.
Will the Feb. 25 discussion involve such “experts?”
And unless the White House gets the answers correct, maybe there’ll be no bipartisan meeting:
Your answers to these critical questions will help determine whether this will be a truly open, bipartisan discussion or merely an intramural exercise before Democrats attempt to jam through a job-killing health care bill that the American people can’t afford and don’t support.