I'm taking the time today to watch the Health Care Conference that includes both the red and blue and is televised. It would not have kept my attention if it proved to be a farce from the getgo. As long as I see constructive, fair debate, I am encouraged. I'm not sure how long we're into it - probably 2-3 hours - but up to now I've been pleased at what I've seen. There has been a fair back and forth. Both sides are being given a chance to say their thoughts and rebut what they hear.
They were truly looking for common ground, but also pointing out the philosophical differences in how to approach the same goals. It was clear and acknowledged right away that the GOP is not the "party of NO" after all. They see the need for health care reform have ideas and approaches to solving it.
If Obama wants to be graded, I was surprisingly giving him an A for effort and sincerity on getting this done in a bi-partisan way. I thought to myself, "boy, if he keeps this up and really makes a bill that comes from this, acknowledges the strengths of the GOP ideas and is willing to ditch some of their preconceived notions for better ideas, he'd go a long way to boost his approval ratings in one day. I could feel the independents saying, "yeh. That's what we voted for. Bi-partisan discussion and debate in a televised, transparent way." They should have done this from the beginning, but they misinterpreted their mandate.
The declining polls, retirements of dems, and election of someone like Scott Brown are opening the eyes of some democrats and taking them down a peg to try and find agreement so that something gets passed. They (some) realize that they'd better get a bill that the American people approve of before November or there will no longer even be a democrat majority, let along filibuster proof one.
BUT, he blew it, in my eyes a few moments ago. John McCain was having his turn at the mic. He was addressing the process by which this has been done and the distaste that the American people have had toward it. He named some of the sweetheart deals, including special deals for "favored" states. He said that before we go any further, those need to be stripped out so that, if we're making a federal plan, geography alone doesn't affect your insurance plan. Obama tried to interrupt him once (he'd been using self control on that up to then), but McCain finished his point. Obama scolded him for pointing out problems in the bill instead of pointing toward consensus. He starts by saying, "John, this is not a campaign anymore." McCain quipped back, "I'm reminded of that everyday. hah hah hah."
Obama's words turned my stomach again b/c of the hypocrisy. He's never stopped being in campaign mode!
Also, shortly before this exchange - I can't remember who it was with - he said something else that revolted/surprised me. It was one of those things again, that while it surprised me, it really shouldn't have. It always surprises me when Obama (and his cohorts) can say things that are ludicrous with such a straight face, in front of the American people. It feels like an admission to me - that they have this warped idea, but it's not. They're perfectly fine with it, as though it's perfectly rational and fair.
In this case, it was about the grand health care plans that the government has - that Congress has. Everybody knows (or should know) that the American people are revolted at the thought of the government having access to different perks than the average American, and on their dime. He goes on talking to this member saying something to the extent of, "Now, we're not talking about a government run health care program. We just want there to be a baseline so that the American people get the type of insurance we have. After all, I know that none of us, republicans included, don't want to give up what we have. I haven't heard any of you suggesting we should have less. I don't think we should. I just think the American people should have the same thing."
WHAT?! I can't tell you how much of those sentiments feel wrong to me, in terms of the debate happening on the floor right now. It annihilates all of the cost saving ideas that have been bounced around.
He admitted that they won't reduce their insurance policies, even though they want to spread it around to everyone. Isn't it these "Cadillac" insurance companies that they want to tax? I don't get it. It's the same, let's give out entitlements, and worry about how to pay for it later. Monopoly money.
Giving everyone a baseline equal to the Congress' policies is completely impractical in a cost saving strategy. They have to willing to give something up, in order to equalize things. I have more to say here, but the point is that Obama was so close to winning me over on believing this was a fair exchange until his last couple of retorts.