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Overdosing on Summits

The White House spin machine has really broken down when the Obami can’t win over Ruth Marcus. On the health-care summit, she writes:

In case the president’s ducking of Couric’s question about his willingness to “start at square one” wasn’t clear enough, the White House came out to emphasize that, no, the president wasn’t backing away from the measures that have already passed both houses of Congress. He plans to come to the table with a merged Democratic blueprint as his starting point. Republicans should feel free to chime in, though.

To call this Kabuki is to insult the Japanese art form. I am no fan of the House Republican leadership, but under these circumstances it’s hard to fault Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia for suggesting that they might have better things to do than serve as Democratic stage props.

This is typical Obama — a useless stunt (a summit) with faux bipartisanship where he doubles down on his ultra-liberal agenda. Marcus helpfully offers that maybe Obama could throw a bone to the Republicans — tort reform, for example. Really, she pleads, it would show there is one special-interest group that Obama can stand up to! Well, don’t hold your breath.

Obama is about political gamesmanship, shifting blame, and most of all, heading off calls for him to do something other than trot out the same worn-out big-government power grab. Nor is he into tackling any liberal interest groups. (Ask the D.C. school kids about that one.) But here’s the thing: the act is old, the liberal pundits now roll their eyes in disgust, and the voters have seen quite enough of Obama’s dog-and-pony shows. So when the summit ends and the leg-tingling play-by-play at MSNBC wraps up, he still won’t have a viable health-care plan, and his fellow Democrats still will have to explain to voters why they voted for a monstrous bill that 70 percent of the electorate hates. You see, after the stunts, there is still governance. Obama isn’t really so enamored of that part of the job. Which explains all the summits.



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