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February 14, 2010
Let the games begin
Live from Washington - It's Health Care Chicken, starring Barack Obama and a carefully chosen panel of useful idiots, desperate Democrats and resolute Republicans.
The President's televised health care "summit" on February 25th promises to rival for sheer theatre the spectacle last October of 150 doctors in the Rose Garden costumed in white coats handed out by the White House.
In his State of the Union address, the President said "I don't quit," and nowhere is that more apparent than in his quixotic left-wing pursuit of health care nirvana in the form of a federal takeover:
"Just in case there's any confusion out there, I am not going to walk away from health care reform," Mr. Obama said. "I'm not going to walk away on this challenge... We're moving forward."
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius echoed Obama for emphasis: "A lot of people ask if this is starting over... the answer is absolutely not."
A Pelosi aide this week described the reconciliation process Democrats plan to use to force their health reform plan on an unwilling American People:
The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill.
House Republicans, rightfully expecting a setup by the White House, initially sent Rahm Emanuel a letter asking a series of questions in an attempt to clarify the agenda of the meeting, with House Republican leader John Boehner (R-OH) noting "I don't want to walk into some kind of trap."
Since the letter to Emanuel was sent it has been further reported in Politico that:
Obama hopes to walk into the Feb. 25 summit with an agreement in hand between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a final Democratic bill, so they can move ahead with a reform package after the sit-down.
The upshot of all this is that the House Republican leadership sent a second letter on Thursday, this time addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), citing "news reports showing that Democrats are potentially undermining the President's stated commitment to have a "bipartisan" and "transparent" dialogue by rushing to finalize a backroom health care deal." The latest House Republican letter appears to clearly lay out the battle lines:
The American people have made it clear that they strongly oppose the comprehensive health care bills you have passed and want them shelved in favor of a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs for families and small businesses...
...The existence of any kind of backroom health care deal among the White House and Democratic Leaders would certainly make a mockery of the President's stated desire to have a "bipartisan" and "transparent" dialogue on this issue...
...To ensure we can move forward in good faith, we ask that you publicly disavow these reports and assure the American people that Democratic Leadership is not putting together any kind of backroom health care deal or plotting any kind of legislative trickery to pass it.
At this point, the Obama team is insisting they will show up on the 25th with a final Democratic health reform bill in hand, and the House Republicans, backed incidentally by the considerable weight of the American people, are demanding that Obama and the Democrats disavow their backroom health care takeover.
This would certainly be entertaining political theatre, but the stakes transcend politics, pitting "we, the people" against Obama's big government leviathan. In response to six months of fierce public rejection of their agenda, the Democrats have mashed the gas pedal to the floor. The House Republicans appear determined to stand in the way.
Let the games begin.