Thoughts on Obama’s healthcare summit today

As I mentioned in a previous post, I watched the Obamacare summit today almost in its entirety.  I have a few general thoughts, but also want to round up opinions around the blogs and news outlets.

My thoughts:

The Republicans made the right choice in attending.  Not only were they effective in outlining flaws in the plans, discrepancies between the bill and Obama’s words, and getting their own ideas heard….they also put Obama on the defensive several times.

The Democrat talking points for the session seemed to be “I think we are close to agreement on this” (meaning Repubs and Dems), tell a sob story that one-ups the previous one, and be sure not to get into details of their own bill.

I think the Dems wanted it to appear that the recommendations being made by Republicans were already included in the present bills — even when they aren’t. Thus, I think that is why they kept saying “we are close“.  Of course it wasn’t true for hardly any of the discussion.

The other main tactic for Dems was to spend much time talking about one-off sob stories of constituents, friends, and relatives and their healthcare woes.   This allowed for emotion to be brought to the discussion, but likely more important, it kept Dems from having to talk much at all about what really exists in their bill.

I found it very interesting that Republicans clearly outlined SPECIFICS for healthcare reform, but Dems barely mentioned the specifics of their monstrous 5000 page bills combined.

Back to Obama, he was supposed to moderate the session.  I thought that was not smart.  Moderators typically may move discussions along and sort of bring up topics for discussion.  Obama basically rebutted almost every time a Republican spoke and mostly gave no time for the Repub to follow up.  And he was clumsy in his words many times when doing so.

As I watched, this session reminded me of corporate meetings I attended back in my big career days.  We developed new communications services which required meetings, ideas, various groups to interact, etc. in an effort to get them to market.  Obama looked more like the director of a new service introduction to the market rather than a POTUS leading the country.   He looked weak, defensive, and frankly, unpresidential in the meeting.

Many times Obama also looked angry and his body language moved from bored to frustrated to acting interested to irritated ….He also speaks much better with prepared words rather than in a mode of defending that which is a mess.

All in all, I think this was intended entirely to be a kabuki theatre and as a means for Obama to say Republicans just “won’t compromise and fill the gap”.   Obama will use this to promote the reconciliation process of 51 votes to pass with no Republican input.

He will do it despite the fact that only 34% of Americans believe the reconciliation process should be used in this instance, 73% of Americans oppose this bill, and Obama, himself, opposed such a process vehemently back in 2005 when Republicans were in power.

I’d say chances are greater now that this bill won’t pass in the monstrous present form.  But I never say never.

More thoughts on the summit from others:

Media Reactions to the Healthcare Summit from  Wizbang blog

Obama: You know what sounds pretty good right now? Reconciliation from Hot Air

Summit: Substance versus anecdote from Pundit & Pundette

David Gergen on the summit: Republicans had their best day in years from Hot Air

The Chicago Way… Obama Ends Bipartisan Summit at Blair House With a Threat (Video) from Gateway Pundit

Try to stay awake: the President has a healthcare bill to pass from the London Times


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