Ambush at Blair House

February 14th, 2010

By Larry Ennis

President Obama wants to meet with Republican leaders for a supposed health care summit, to be held at Blair House on February 25. This choice of meeting places brings back memories from long ago. Two people calling themselves Puerto Rican nationalists tried to ambush President Truman as he was leaving Blair House in 1950. I mention this only because I remember the incident — it isn’t meant to imply any bearing on present-day events.

Many pundits are saying that any Republicans who show up will be chastised and used as a backdrop for Obama to make a speech blaming them for a lack of cooperation. I bet no mention will be made about the very partisan behavior of the Democrats, such as locking the minority out of the health care reform debate altogether.

For the better part of 14 months the President and his party have shut out the Republicans. With a super-majority in both houses, the Democrats had the ability to pass any legislation they desired. Even with such power at their disposal, the Democrats would not run the risk of passing health care reform and having it fail without one Republican vote. Pretty hard to blame those who were locked out. If we can believe the polls, the voters don’t really want health care reform at this time. A majority of the voters just don’t trust the Administration on this and many other issues. According to Rasmussen Reports, 61 percent of those polled were against health care reform. In addition, forty-one percent disapprove of the way the President is performing his job.

If I were the invited Republicans, I’d be a no-show at Blair House. The main concern of both parties should be getting the economy back on track. If you take time to compare the amount of economic misery still existing versus the amount of money that’s been spent by our present government, you have to wonder where the money went. Each man, woman, and child in this country is now in debt $40,000 per person.

Even with such a massive debt obligation already heaped on the voters, the President and the Democrats continue to spend enormous amounts of money. The fact that we are having to borrow most of the money from other countries is in my opinion a danger within itself.

Such a high outlay of money should have caused a marked economic improvement, but it has not. Our unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent as of February 5. Our roads and bridges still need repair, but hardly any money is getting to infrastructure problems.

With all the problems we are facing why does health care reform take precedence above all others? Like I said at the beginning, the Republicans would be better served not to attend the Blair House ambush.

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One Response to “Ambush at Blair House”

  1. Tom |

    You’re right that Republicans probably don’t have much to gain from the health care summit, but they’ll look bad if they don’t show up. The real mystery to me is why anyone might expect something useful to come from a short, televised meeting like this on such a complex issue.

    The Republicans need to be careful how they handle this dog-and-pony show, which is a better term than “ambush,” which implies that the victims don’t know it’s coming. While the RCP average of polls does show that 53 percent of Americans oppose and 38 percent support the current Democratic health care plan (as expressed in the House and Senate bills), a clear majority of people supports specific parts of the plan. These include, among others, tax credits to small businesses that offer health care coverage, expanding and improving Medicaid and Medicare coverage, creating health insurance exchanges, prohibiting denial of health insurance for pre-existing conditions, etc.

    This is a more accurate picture of public sentiment, and the Republicans ignore it at their peril. They best thing they could do is produce their own plan at Blair House that is simpler, less expensive, free of special interest goodies, and inclusive of the kinds of health care reform that people actually do want. That would be a smart move for the Republicans, but we’ll see whether they’re smart enough to do it or prefer to simply sit back with their arms folded, muttering “No, no, no….”

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