With the health care bill stalled in Congress, President Obama appeared on CBS's Super Bowl pre-game show to announce a dramatic and unprecedented political experiment: Inviting GOP leaders and Congressional Democrats to join him in a live televised summit "to go through systematically all the best ideas" and come up with a final plan to fix health care in America. Republicans have responded coolly to the idea, saying they'd participate only if Obama dumped the existing bill and started from scratch. Is the president setting himself up for an embarrassing defeat by offering to negotiate in public on his signature issue? (Watch a Fox report about Obama's proposed health care summit)
Obama can't win if the GOP doesn't play ball: Why would Republicans allow themselves to be turned into "human stage props to feed [Obama's] ego"? says Michelle Malkin at her blog. If he's actually interested in the GOP's "health care reform plans, he can look them up online, where they have been for months." The summit is just a "dog-and-pony show," and the best way to expose Obama's desperation — and kill his health care plan — is to stay away.
"Obama's kabuki summit invitation"
This is a smart play by Obama: Republicans "are free to say 'no," or even "'hell no' if they want to," says James Pinkerton in FOX News. But Obama has "home field advantage," and he will use it to make sure their non-engagement comes across as "partisan and belligerent" for the coveted "purple" voters. Obama's definitely learning "how to play the game."
"Four reasons why Obama's on a roll"
This is about the upcoming elections — not health care: Obama is really just trying to shore up Democratic prospects for the midterm elections, says Lee Siegel at Daily Beast. He knows the GOP will give him nothing to work with and the summit will be unproductive — then he can portray Republicans "as stonewalling villains." But it's not presidential — or good for America — to have the president this deeply involved in dirty political spinning.
"Obama's sham bipartisan show"
If nothing else, it will be exciting TV: Obama's big summit could end up "kicking his ass," says Katie Connolly in Newsweek, or it could prove to be a "Jedi move" that forces the GOP to take some ownership of America's broken health care system. In either case, it will be winner-take-all. I don't who will win, but I know I'll be watching.
"The White House health-care summit: Jedi move or giant fail?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- Why the West should accept ISIS as a sovereign nation
Subscribe to the Week