Thursday, February 25, 2010

The BULLY-ing Pulpit

Did president Obama come off after today's health care summit as someone looking for bipartisanship, or did he come off as the Bully in chief? We call the presidency the Bully pulpit, but today did he redefine it as the bullying pulpit? Newt Gingrich had a thought a few days ago, that the Republicans should insist on equal time, and Mitch O'Connell made the point within the first ninety minutes that the time was slanting decidedly left. Obama's response to that was because he's the president he wasn't counting his time. As far as I know he still has a D behind his name. In fact after the summit was concluded the clock watchers actually reported that Obama himself took 119 minutes to the Republicans 110 minutes. The other congressional democrats got 114 minutes. Adding that up the Democrat point of view got 233 minutes, or almost 4 hours, and the Republicans got 110 minutes, or just under two hours. Now that's bipartisanship!

Leaving all that aside did he look presidential, as he constantly interrupted the opposition and seemed to go into a 5 minute rebuttal after every Republican spoke? I think he diminished himself and went from what Sarah Palin called, "A professor at the lectern, instead of a commander in chief," and became an annoyed moderator of a political dog and pony show. He acted imperious and arrogant as he alone was the arbiter of what was salient, or what was talking points and props. Of course the latter accusation always came after Republican assertions and criticism of the over two thousand page bill. He seemed not to be able to resist the temptation to comment after every Republican. His body language smacked of condescension and at times anger. His rebuke of senator McCain, who called him out on the process leading  up to the senate bill being passed was especially rude.

It is apparently this exercise in futility was nothing more than an attempt to provide the Democrats cover as they prepare to Ram the senate bill through on reconciliation, and twist enough arms in the house to make Obama Care a reality. The problem is, by hosting this summit, he gave every American the opportunity to see Republicans rip the bill apart and offer common sense incremental solutions to our Health Care situation. As much as he tried to dominate the time and the direction of the summit the GOP did enough damage to Obama Care to make the reconciliation process risky and passage in the House uncertain. Paul Ryan's description of the senate bill as a Ponzi Scheme was especially damning, and Eric Cantor, with that two thousand plus bill sitting in front of him was very resolute in his opposition. Tom Coburn and Lamar Alexander both made excellent points on the GOP senate side.

The Democrats each began their talks with the predictable heart tugging story of a constituent wronged by the insurance industry or an unfair health care system. Louise Slaughter won the Olympic gold medal with her story of a constituent so wronged  she had to wear her dead sister's dentures. The Democrats came with sob stories and tissues, and the Republicans came with substance and issues. I think the public is getting a little tired of the moral blackmail attempted by this tactic. "You have to vote our way or more of these injustices will continue." Another subtle tactic was almost every Democrat pressed the faulty position that we are so close to agreement on almost everything here, so let's get it done. An obvious attempt to frame the summit as bipartisan but those wascally wepublicans just won't compromise, so we may have to just go ahead and do it ourselves for the American people. Of course the fact that the American people overwhelmingly oppose the bill in question doesn't seem to matter.

President Obama's closing statement was also telling, and proof that this was nothing more than a Kabookie Dance, as he said we'll take a couple of weeks, or a month, or six weeks and see if there is any movement one way or another, or words similar to that. But, if there isn't we, {the Democrats,} may just have to go it alone. He won't take reconciliation off the table, as senator Alexander asked him to do right at the start of the summit. Politico has reported  the dems intention is to start the process for reconciliation by Monday. So what we saw today was a cynical attempt to appear to keep campaign promises of bipartisanship and transparency which to this point have been nonexistent, and a very good performance by the GOP of framing the differences of the two party's approach to health care reform.The Republicans should continue to stand firm and be the party of..... "NO" Obama Care...., and when the Democrats threaten reconciliation they should look them straight in the face, and in the words of Clint Eastwood,.. calmly say....Go ahead, Make my Day!
Check out my other blog......Con-Men4 Palin

No comments:

Post a Comment