Well, the Circus is over. The six hour health care summit stretched to seven hours. The breakdown on speaking was Obama - one hour 53 minutes, Democrats - three hours 53 minutes, Republicans - one hour 50 minutes. Yeah, that's bipartisan. Hot Air's Allahpundit has a great rundown on what he calls the 'Freakshow'.
Obama came off a little snippy and, surprise, surprise, arrogant. Republicans really brought their A game, in my opinion. Not that they got a lot of floor time, but that was to be expected, and they really made the most of the time they were allowed. They were on point talking about the differences between what the dems want and what they want. The democrats relied on a string of sob stories and some wild statements like Harry Reid saying no one has been talking about reconciliation. Really, Harry? Really?
Queen Nancy went at it from another angle - jobs. Yup, you got it - this bill is all about jobs. Four million of them. Apparently 400,000 of them will be created immediately. The thing is, as ridiculous as it may sound, she's probably right. Unfortunately, all of those jobs will be created because of the giant behemoth government bureaucracy they are trying to set up, but, hey, a job is a job, right? Of course, all those doctors retiring and/or quitting will change those numbers a bit, as well as all of the jobs lost when the insurance companies start closing down because they are being priced out of the market or crippled by overbearing regulations and artificial pricing.
The republicans were talking policy and trying to find the points of agreement and explain their opposition to other points, and the democrats were busy spewing one sob story after another, working that liberal guilt to within an inch of their lives, either unwilling or unable to explain their positions. It was a little pathetic, actually.
I understand that there are people out there who are victimized by shady insurance policies; I know that people fall through the cracks. But they are talking about reshaping an entire industry from top to bottom when things like simple regulation to prevent discrimination against pre-existing conditions would be sufficient. The republicans were trying to point out that lowering costs by implimenting tort reform and interstate commerce, among other things, would enable more people to afford insurance, so more people would be insured - without a government takeover of the health care system.
The problem with that argument, of course, is that, for the democrats, the whole point of 'reform' is government takeover. There is no middle ground on this, because the two sides are diametrically opposed. The democrats are offering socialized medicine in the European model, and the republicans are offering free market solutions. The democrats refused to even discuss tort reform and interstate solutions because they would work (well, and also because they don't want to tick off the trial lawyers - they're a goldmine for campaign contributions).
For all of Harry Reid's denials, reconciliation is on the table. Before the democrats jump on that grenade, however, they should consider that it might possibly be the death knell of their party for a generation or more. Disapproval for their bills have been holding steady at about 56% for the past three months. Over 60% want them to start from scratch. A majority oppose the partisan tactic of reconciliation, including, apparently, one of the creators of the process. They proceed with it at their own risk. But considering how incredibly tone deaf they have been so far, don't be surprised if they pull the trigger anyway.
I have to admit that I was worried that the Republicans would fare poorly today, but they did great. And if Obama's surly expression and attitude are any indication, he knows it - and so do others.