Bloggers take in–sometimes skeptically–President Barack Obama’s call for a televised summit with Republicans to discuss health care reform.
Time’s Kate Pickert says the event will be “interesting political theater” but notes, “We are observing, it seems, Obama’s final health care push. This push is proof that the President doesn’t view Scott Brown’s victory as an insurmountable obstacle to Democratic reforms. The reality, though, remains to be seen and probably has a lot more to do with polls and whip counts than it does with policy arguments and television cameras.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein also calls the summit “pure theater” and says it’s nothing new for Obama:
This is a classic Obama move. Create the appearance that he’s doing one thing when in reality he’s doing the exact opposite. Problem is, the public has already caught on to his shtick and can tell the difference between performance art and reality. I can’t see this changing the dynamics of the health care effort.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein points out that the move sets “a next step for health reform,” but he also thinks the move is mostly political:
This is, first and foremost, about defusing the lines of attack that have scared the hell out of Democratic legislators. If you talk to people on the Hill, there’s relatively little concern about the substance of the likely compromise, but there’s enormous anxiety over the public’s belief that the bill is thick with noxious deals, which is fed by the idea that the process has been hidden from the American people.
Critical Condition’s Tevi Troy cautions, “If [Democratic leaders] are not [to] willing start over, I am not sure what they hope to accomplish,” but still advises Republicans to “be prepared to show — politely, but with conviction — why their ideas on health care are superior.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky predicts the debates that will ensue, but thinks that ultimately “It will be up to the Republicans to meet the Democrats half way. Obama would have taken his steps towards bipartisanship, he may even make some concessions on tort reform. But this will be the Republicans’ final opportunity to embrace the rather moderate package of reforms. If they still insist on starting over, they’re effectively taking themselves out of the process and giving the reins to the Democrats.”
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey says, “A televised event like this will restore some of the veneer of leadership Obama has lost. Still, there is a significant risk that Republicans will get attacked from all quarters during this round-robin event.”