I’m watching the “summit” live at cnn.com on my laptop computer. Lamar Alexander is speaking. My first thought is that it’s unseemly for the president of the United States and members of Congress to gather in this kind of setting, broadcast on television. It’s not appropriate for the president to be sitting there listening to senators speak to him. It’s not the way our system is supposed to be. The Presidency and the Congress are separate, independent, sovereign branches of government, each with its own sphere and functions, and that is lost when they sit in the same room in a talk fest, with the president acting like the leader of a seminar. (And Alexander addresses Obama as “Mr. President,” while Obama addresses him as “Lamar,” and Alexander let him get away with it.)

My second thought is that Sen. Alexander (I missed Obama’s opening statement, which I heard was maudlin) is making a pretty effective statement that Obamacare is totally unacceptable and must be scrapped, that “comprehensive” approaches, whether in health care, immigration, or cap and trade, don’t work, and that any changes in health care must be done in a piecemeal way. By what calculus does Obama think he’s going to persuade the public that the Republicans are being obstructionist, that a low key guy like Alexander is some greedy meanspirited tool of evil corporations trying to keep the Dems from doing the best thing for America?

It’s remarkable. All that the Dems have going for them—first Obama, then Pelosi, and now Reid (who sounds as though he’s about to cry, what a pathetic spokesman for the Democrats)—is sob stories. They think that because some people are not able to pay for needed medical care, therefore we must change the whole nature of our country, give up our freedom, and submit ourselves to a monstrous, costly bureaucracy, instead of dealing with that particular problem.

Update: Now Sen. Coburn is going to address why are costs rising. This I want to hear.


Unnecessary tests ordered as a defensive move to fend off excessive malpractice suits

We could instantly cut health care costs by 15 percent if we addressed those two issues.

But still, Coburn is not looking at the fundamental fact that third party payer system inherently produces rising costs by increasing demand.

- end of initial entry -

James N. writes:

This is pure Delphi consensus formation, straight out of Alinsky.

It is disgraceful that ANY Member of Congress, even a radical socialist, would participate. There is a REASON that the Executive and Legislative functions are separated. There is a REASON that the Senate and the House do not meet and debate together.

This seemingly inconsequential meeting, were it ever to be repeated, is a radical change in the organization of the government. It erases in a stroke the scheme by which the People of the United States exercise their sovereignty.

You might even say it represents the fundamental transformation of the United States of America.

LA replies:

Yes, the very fact of the meeting allows the Democrats to say (as Baucus is saying now), “We’re not that far apart,” and therefore there’s no reason not to make a deal. Thus the total picture gets changed. Instead of the Democrats relentlessly pushing something that the country has rejected, which makes the Democrats look like the crazed fanatics that they are, the Demcrats are allowed to make themselves appear like reasonable people trying to close very narrow differences with the Republicans side and reach an agreement for the good of the country.

That’s the Dems’ strategy. Make the differences seem trival; make themselves look reasonable, which makes the public forget how crazy the bill is, and puts the pressure on the Republicans to stop being “obstructionist” and to go along with it.

LA continues:

For example, I see this by Andrew Tantaros at Fox:

With each passing week that the president ignores jobs, choosing to focus on his obsession and an unprecedented legislative trick to stalk the public into a submitting to a relationship they don’t want, the more he looks like a lunatic who has escaped the asylum, just waiting to surprise you outside your window, in the rain on your fire escape until you relent. “Fatal Attraction,” the Washington version is playing on a television near you as Obama’s bipartisan summit on health care approaches. Like a possessed, rejected maniac the president refuses…

But that’s the very thing that is being lost in this polite seminar. The president has stopped looking like a lunatic and now seems rational. In a single step, the Republicans, by attending this meeting, have allowed Obama to recover from the devastating damage he has done to himself.

Daniela writes from Romania:

Can someone explain to me why don’t the Republicans come with their own sob stories from the socialist systems in Europe or Canada? I can find a lot of them by using Google. Someone should point out the existence of this site to the GOP, maybe they have no idea it exists. Obviously, this should be in a speech combined with why the current system is bad—that the problem isn’t the quality of care, but the cost and that the cost is so high because of the government circumventing the market forces on cost with their fiscal code that creates a moral hazard by not taxing health benefits. They should tax health benefits and lower taxes so that employees don’t experience a tax increase. I won’t even go into the ton of other regulations they have to repeal in order to make healthcare affordable. Funny enough, where the federal government has authority under the interstate commerce clause is to repeal the states not allowing insurance to be portable and shutting down competition, yet they don’t use it there, they use it to pass silly things like the minimum wage and wheat quotas for farmers.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 25, 2010 10:56 AM | Send

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