Greg Sargent is right: Yesterday’s summit was never about the Republicans:
This summit was always about laying the groundwork for Dems to go forward alone, barring a major capitulation from Republicans. As noted here repeatedly, Dems will find themselves in exactly the same position tomorrow as they did yesterday: Confronting the enormously difficult task of passing ambitious reform on their own.
Of course, Republicans will continue to blow smoke about Democrats not coming to the summit in good faith, but the overwhelmingly obvious reality is that Republican opposition to health care reform was never based in good faith:
What’s more, Obama also essentially accused Republicans of approaching today’s summit in bad faith — after they had sat there with him for six hours. He said that even after the public option was taken off the table, Republicans continued to use the same “government takeover” slur.
“Even after the public option wasn’t available, we still hear the same rhetoric,” Obama said. “We have a concept of an exchange which previously has been an idea that was embraced by Republicans before I embraced it. Somehow, suddenly it became less of a good idea.”
This accusation, combined with his assertion that Repubicans need to do some “soul-searching” on whether they wanted to join Dems in tackling reform as they have defined it, amount to an unmistakable vow to move foward without them.
Steve Benen sees further evidence of this in a post from Dan Pfeiffer at the White House blog:
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer posted an item last night, reiterating how the president perceives the state of the debate. Pfeiffer highlighted the merit of the Democratic proposal, rejected a conservative approach to regulations, and said “a problem this big cannot be addressed incrementally.” He added:
[W]hile the President appreciated the participation and input of everyone today, he doesn’t think we can just scrap a year’s worth of work and start over. The millions of Americans that are suffering can’t afford another year-long debate. There’s too much at stake.
In effect, yesterday was about both sides asking the other a fundamental question. Obama’s question for Republicans was, “We’re offering a bipartisan, comprehensive package built around principles you claim to support. Are you willing to work with us?” Republicans came with their own question: “Will you throw out all the work you’ve done and promise to let us kill reform with a filibuster?” Both sides have the same answer to the competing questions: “No.”
The difference is, Democrats are the governing majority, and the party’s leaders see no reason to make Republican satisfaction a prerequisite for success.
*I see Steve’s U2 and raise him one Dylan. 🙂