The President claimed to be above it all when he slapped down Republican objections that the time had not been allotted fairly. The President spoke about one-third of the time, his congressional allies, the Democrats, spoke about one-third, and the Republicans got about one-third. When someone called his attention to the fact he had run over, he said: “I’m the President,” and it seemed he was making up the rules as he went along.
When House Minority Leader John Boehner raised the critical issue of federal funding of abortion under ObamaCare, the President petulantly waved it away, calling the question just “Republican talking points.”
How odd, especially when the Stupak Amendment banning federal subsidies for abortion passed the House by 240 votes--including all Republicans and 64 Democrats. Nothing the President or the Republicans proposed at this summit is likely to command such a strong, bi-partisan majority. And ?Rep. Bart Stupak is a Democrat.
Republicans should not object too strenuously, however, to the loosey-goosey rules of the Blair House health care summit. Behind their hands, they might have been saying to one another: “Give them more rope.”
Why is that? Well, it’s because the entire exercise was no game changer. The GOP had gone into the pow-wow with the President, his staff, and his strong congressional majorities, and had done pretty well. More than pretty well: They stood toe-to-toe with Obama the Progressive Paragon and came out unscathed.
We know that it was a great day for Republicans when even John Dickinson of the liberal blog, Slate, says this:
[It] wasn't a good day for congressional Democratstrategists involved in 2010 races, fence-sitting Democrats needed to see Obama change the political dynamic. He needed to show how health care reform could be defended and how Republicans could be brought low. He did neither. White House aides and the president himself said he was going to press Republicans for how their plans would work, but he did that only twice—and mildly. There was no put-up-or-shut-up moment.
We know President Obama doesn’t like Winston Churchill. In fact, he tossed the bust of Churchill out of the White House as one of his first official acts. But Churchill’s words could come as great comfort to the Republicans who attended the great Blair House summit: “Nothing is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”