Healthcare summit changes nothing
How could it? It was all for show:
Although the Democrats’ public stance will be to let the dust from Thursday’s bipartisan health care summit, several senior congressional Democratic sources concede to CNN that their plans moving forward on health care are not likely to be much different tomorrow than they were yesterday.
Democrats are actively looking into using the parliamentary shortcut known as reconciliation to get a health care bill to the President’s desk. They are specifically exploring two issues: The ins-and-outs of how the complicated process could work, and whether the votes are there in the Senate and House to execute such a strategy.
Nate Silver’s take is about right:
[T]here wasn’t much in the way of real news generated, and certainly wasn’t anything that might be considered a “game-changing” moment
[O]ne’s impression of where the health care debate stands is liable to be very similar to where it was 24 hours ago. Personally, I err a bit on the pessimistic side because (i) the math in the House, already challenging to the Democrats, [...] and (ii) it seems like there are a lot of ways the Democrats could fumble the exchange between the bipartisan tone they sought to strike today and their need to pass their policy in a reconciliation/majority-rules environment later on.
At the end of the day, the summit was just an attempt by the White House to focus the narrative as reformers vs. obstructionists, a pure circus for the peasants and a knee-jerk reaction to the Massachusetts election. You really can’t blame him, because that’s where Obama is at his best.
Whether this strategy worked however, remains to be seen. As Silver notes, the scenario hasn’t really changed at all. The Democrats still need to get enough votes in the House and make sure the Senate grows the spine to make such a pivotal vote. As an anti-reform “obstructionist”, I’m hoping they fail to that end.
UPDATE. Greg Sargent on the summit:
Congressional Dems will be just as skittish tomorrow as they were yesterday about moving forward alone via reconciliation. That means Dems still have an enormously difficult task ahead.
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.
That appears to be the left’s consensus on the healthcare summit.