Health Care Summit Testy Exchanges
By: Sharon Hughes
Can I ask you a question? Did anyone really think that President Obama’s “Bipartisan Health Care Summit” would be a game changer? While pundits of the old media and new logged in their opinions and analysis of the purpose and outcome of the summit, the only real thing that I think was beneficial in this staged event, was to observe the testy exchanges between some members of Congress and the President. It helped to further define the line that divides on this issue.
While few Americans actually watched the 7 hour televised summit, the support of the White House and Congressional health care proposals continues to diminish. Now 56% of Americans oppose Obamaâ€™s proposal.
And for the record, according to Rasmussen, the Presidentâ€™s approval rating has dropped from 65% on January 21, 2009, Inauguration Day, to 46% on March 4, 2010. The percentage of those who strongly disapprove has increased from 16% to 41% for the same period. And the health care summit did virtually zero to change these numbers.
And yet as the Wall Street Journal points out, Congress and the President is planning on moving forward with their bills, even using the ‘reconciliation’ process to have their way. Here’s the plan, “House Democrats would pass a series of ‘fixes’ to the Senate bill. The Senate would then pass the House reconciliation bill, sending amendments to President Obama to a bill… The House would then retroactively pass the Senate bill as is. So by using the “reconciliation” process, the Senate will only need 51 votes to pass their socialized healthcare bill.”
But letâ€™s not get too distracted over the â€˜reconciliationâ€™ tactic because as Phil Kerpen, President for policy at Americans for Prosperity, points out, â€œâ€¦as outrageous as reconciliation is, ultimately itâ€™s a distraction, and free-market activists who focus on it may miss the real fight in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ultimately, it doesnâ€™t matter whether or not the Senate passes changes to its health care bill via reconciliation. Thatâ€™s because the reconciliation process cannot even begin until after the House passes the Senate bill exactly as it passed the Senate on Christmas Eve. That means it must pass with the abortion language already rejected by Rep. Bart Stupak and others still intact. It also must pass with the outrageous pork barrel spending deals cut for Nebraska, Louisiana, Connecticut, and others.â€
So, my point about the most beneficial thing to come out of the presidentâ€™s health care summit being the testy exchanges between those in Congress who are against the White House and Senate proposals and the President still stands. Why? Because it â€˜showedâ€™ where the dividing line clearly is on this issue between them, who is watching out for the American people, such as Rep. Paul Ryan, who told the President, “The difference in our approaches is clear. We don’t think all the answers lie in Washington,â€ and the preverbal â€˜Freudian attitude slipsâ€™.
One such testy exchange or â€˜slipsâ€™ if you will, was between the President and John McCain, when McCain pointed out promises they both had made during the election, to which Obama said, “We’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over.” To which McCain said, â€œIâ€™m reminded of that every day.â€
Another testy exchange was shortly after the above remarks to Senator McCain, when the President voiced his annoyance at Rep. Eric Cantor for having the 2,400 page health care bill with him displayed on the table. “Let me just guess — that that’s the 2,400-page health care bill. Is that right? These are the kind of political things we do that prevent us from actually having a conversation.”
And another testy â€˜slipâ€™ that has gotten a lot of play in the media was when Rep. Leader Mitch McConnell, complained that there wasnâ€™t a balance of time given to both sides, to which the President, who clearly was annoyed said, “You’re right, there was an imbalance on the opening statementsâ€¦ because I’m the President.”
There were more, which I talked about on my radio show this week, but Iâ€™ll leave it at this for now.
Bottom line? The White House â€œBipartisan Health Care Summitâ€ was not a game changer. Even though the President has since said he would incorporate a few things from the GOP side, as Charles Babington reported that, â€œIn a bit of political sleight of hand, Obama said he might include four GOP-sponsored ideas in his plan, even though virtually no one in Congress or the White House thinks it will procure a single Republican vote. The move is aimed instead at wavering Democrats, especially in the House. Some of them might find it easier to vote for the health care package if they can tell constituents it had bipartisan elements that Republicans should have supported. Yet there is no guarantee that Democratic leaders will incorporate Obama’s suggestions in revised legislation.â€
Bio: Sharon Hughes is Founder and President of The Center for Changing Worldviews, WOMANTalk and Operation Heartlift, an outreach to our troops and their families. She is a radio talk show host in San Francisco, California on KDIA AM1640. Her articles have appeared in many recognized news sites, including FRONTPAGEMAG, and NewsBusters.org, a division of The Media Research Center, and she has appeared on FOX News and other national radio programs.
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Sharon Hughes is the Founder and President of The Center for Changing Worldviews, which includes Operation Heartlift to support our Troops, Operation ARC and outreach to at-risk-children. A radio talk show host out of the San Francisco Bay Area on KDIA AM1640, she has appeared on FOX News and many national radio talk shows, and her column is read on numerous online news sites. Website: www.changingworldviews.com Archived Broadcasts: www.listen.changingworldviews.com Contact: email@example.com