Rich Galen

Happy 278th Birthday to George Washington. He was born in 1732 which means he was 57 when he was sworn in as the first President under the U.S. Constitution on April 30, 1789. Pretty old for the day, no?

Speaking of old, how tired are you of the Great Health Care Debate of 2009-2010 and Beyond? President Obama has invited Democrat and Republican leaders from the House and Senate to a meeting at Blair House on Thursday to discuss health care reform. The half-day event will be televised on C-SPAN.

I'd rather watch a three-hour Tiger Woods apology.

Anyone who was expecting a formal Oxford Union debate is going to be disappointed.

Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

The President has made it clear that this is not in any way, shape, or form starting from a blank sheet of paper. It is part of a continuing process of attempting to recover from the disastrous start to this process last August when Democratic Members of the House and Senate ran into the buzz saws known as "Town Meetings" with no idea of what they were attempting to sell, and even less of an idea about how to handle the anger.

In the run-up to the meeting the Administration is scheduled to publish an amalgam of the bills adopted by House and Senate Democrats on the WH web page today.

On the Sunday talkers yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate Republicans would attend but said, "if they're going lay out the plan they want to pass four days in advance, then what are we discussing on Thursday?"

Not only is the President pre-selecting the discussion items, but the Democratic Leadership in the House and Senate has made it known that they are prepared to use the "reconciliation process" to shove a plan through the House and Senate as a budget item requiring a simple majority in each Chamber rather than the 60-vote gauntlet the legislation has had to run previous to this.

It is not clear to me how, by signaling Republicans that no matter what happens on Thursday, Democrats are prepared to torture the rules to shove through a plan they like will be helpful to the fiction that this will be an open and thoughtful debate.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at