Re: GOP Walking Health Care Tight Rope

Posted: Feb 09, 2010 3:47 PM
I should've known better.  

Yesterday, I wrote how the GOP was rightly standing up to the Obama administration and demanding the Democrats' health care overhaul plans be scrapped.  After reading Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor's response to Obama's invitation to a bipartisan health care dog & pony show, I thought Republicans were finally starting to take a strong stand against the Obama rhetoric:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today that the President is “absolutely not” resetting the legislative process for health care. If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate.  Assuming the President is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan way, does that mean he has taken off the table the idea of relying solely on Democratic votes and jamming through health care reform by way of reconciliation? As the President has noted recently, Democrats continue to hold large majorities in the House and Senate, which means they can attempt to pass a health care bill at any time through the reconciliation process.
As I noted, Obama can pass a health care bill without a single Republican supporter and I believe the White House is inviting the GOP to the summit because it allows Obama to (once again) blame the GOP for being "obstructionist." 

This Obama strategy seems pretty obvious and I was glad the GOP wasn't buying into it.  That was, until today when I heard Eric Cantor backpedal and promise the GOP would, in fact, be attending Obama's summit:

Apparently I wasn't the only one who misread the Republicans' letter.  The Fox anchor has clear confusion on her face and even presses Cantor about the mixed GOP messages. 

So, it looks like the GOP lambs are going to willingly walk into the wolf's den.  One of two things is going to happen: a) the GOP will press the Dems to start the process over, which won't happen, and the GOP will walk out of the summit while Obama continues to call them the "party of no"; or b) the GOP will work with the Democrats to "improve" a terrible bill that should rightfully be scrapped. 

Either way, this is a no-win move for the GOP.