For weeks, ever since Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate race, we’ve been wondering what the next move on health care reform legislation would be. Now we know.
President Obama has summoned Democratic and Republican leaders to Blair House on Feb. 25 for a half-day meeting to iron out their differences and produce a bipartisan health care reform bill. And he wants the whole exchange broadcast on C-SPAN.
Now, as a Democrat and big Obama supporter, I know I’m supposed to jump and down with glee at this historic attempt at bipartisanship. But, pardon my lack of excitement, I think the whole thing’s a waste of time and will do nothing but unnecessarily prolong the process and give Republicans one more platform to stab Obama in the back.
I’m willing to bet that this year’s Blair summit will accomplish even less than last year’s beer summit.
Maybe that kind of bipartisan meeting would have been helpful a year ago, but it’s too late now. There is no way Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will agree on anything. They’ve already said they want the president to scrap the whole bill and start over again. They want health care to fail. They want Obama to fail. They want nothing but the status quo.
After being rebuffed by Republicans for the last 14 months, why would President Obama still be reaching out to them?
Give him credit for trying, but it’s time President Obama forgot about trying to get bipartisan support for health care and focus on Democrats, instead: Bang out the differences between the Senate and House bills, then ram it through the Senate, using reconciliation, with all Democratic votes.
Americans love Social Security, even though no Republicans voted for it. Americans love Medicare, even though no Republicans voted for it. And Americans will love universal health care, even if no Republican votes for it. Bipartisanship is over-rated.
Bill Press is host of The Bill Press Show, a nationally syndicated radio talk show airing weekdays on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and on many local stations across the country.