Ah, the week in review already. First off, there was this big useless and showy Healthcare summit.
Despite yielding a few points of agreement, Thursday's health care summit primarily served to highlight major — unbridgeable — differences between the two parties' agendas for the CSPAN viewing audience. If the summit was collegial, underlying tension spilled over at times into silly slap fights involving President Obama and the Republicans. Accusations of budgetary "gimmicks" to claims of partisan timekeeping, here's a look back at the defining clashes of the big showy Blair House pow-wow.
1. Retro 2008
When John McCain charged the Democratic bill was the product of "unsavory deal making," Obama shot back: "We're not campaigning anymore. The election's over." A flustered McCain responded, "Well, I'm reminded of that every day." A bit later though, he got revenge. Cornered by a question from McCain about why some Florida seniors got special treatment on Medicare, Obama conceded, "I think you make a legitimate point." McCain, looking as surprised as anyone in the room, didn't reply.
2. Paul Ryan's smackdown
In a feisty speech, Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) described the Democratic bill as a "ponzi scheme" full of accounting "gimmicks and smoke and mirrors" and sought to discredit official projections showing it would reduce the deficit. Critics jumped on the moment as if it were some major GOP victory. "The expression on the president's face as Ryan made his case was absolutely priceless," says Matthew Continetti in the Weekly Standard. "Simply put, he looked like someone who realizes he's met his match." Or maybe someone just told him that he isn't wearing any clothes?
Throughout the summit, Republicans pushed the Dems not to pass health care reform using reconciliation, which would allow a sidestep a GOP filibuster in the Senate. Lamar Alexander asked Obama to "renounce this idea" of "jamming" the bill through Congress "using reconciliation." After all, he said, the process has "never been used for anything like this." But Obama kept the option open: "I think most Americans think that a majority vote makes sense." Except that according to polling data, a majority of Americans are against THIS bill. They're for change in Healthcare, just not THIS change.
4. Any one bother to fact-check that?
While making the GOP's opening remarks, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee claimed that insurance premiums "will rise as a result of the Senate bill." Obama countered that this was "not factually accurate. The cost for families for the same type of coverage as they're currently receiving would go down 14 to 20 percent." Bloggers immediately scrambled to pick a winner, with most seeming to settle on Obama. "The record is tricky," says Brian Beutler in Talking Points Memo. But overall "Obama is correct."
In addition to serving as moderator and head debater for the Democrats, Obama was also the official timekeeper, which is to say, Wink Martindale. Which pissed off the GOP. Ninety minutes into the summit, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that Democrats had spent 52 minutes talking compared to only 24 for Republicans. Obama shot back: "I don't count my time, because I'm the president." Lovely.
It snowed again. There was also another earthquake. I'm sure the earthquake will be all we talk about this coming week.
And Mr. Toyota went to Congress this week...
There's been a lot of talk about how to 'fix' the country lately. That the government is broken. The government isn't broken, it's the government that reflects the country. Just as we had an oil man running things the last 8 years. Now we have a squabbling mess where no one takes responsibility for the problems or issues they created. That is a perfect mirror reflecting the population in my eye.
But to be fair, the Federal Government wants to expand their reach and influence into the average American's life [more taxes, services for others] while the States and local governments are raising fees and taxes while screaming poor and cutting services. I can't understand how you can raise taxes more than 50%, cut the program you're raising the taxes for - and then still cry poor. If anyone can explain that to me, I'm all ears. You may also want to explain that to the electorate, before they start hoarding guns and ammunition - what, they already are?
That's this week, see you next.