February 27, 2010

HOW COME THE SMARTEST GUY LOSES EVERY FIGHT?:

Jumping Off the Summit: Obamacare vertigo. (John Heilemann, Feb 26, 2010, New York)

So what did we learn from the seven hours of speechifying that constituted the much-ballyhooed health-care summit? First, that Barack Obama was the smartest guy in the room—and occasionally can’t help showing that he knows it. Second, that congressional Democratic leaders suffer immeasurably by comparison to the president. (Harry, Nancy, I’m looking at you.) Third, that the representatives of neither party were remotely interested in putting aside their tired talking points long enough to have an actual, ahem, conversation. Fourth, that John McCain remains as fabulously, irrepressibly cranky as ever. And finally, that the congressional GOP is capable of putting a calm and non-crazy face on its steadfast intransigence.

As a political matter, this last point may have mattered most of all. To no small extent, the health-care summit was intended to expose the Republicans’ recalcitrance and make them pay for it. To make them appear utterly unreasonable and, ideally, quite loony. But at Blair House, they managed to avoid howling at the moon. There was no talk of death panels, socialism, or government takeovers. Instead, what Republicans put forth were a passel of fairly wonky arguments about insurance premiums, regulatory overreach, and the advantages of incrementalism over comprehensiveness.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2010 10:38 AM
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