[Guest post by DRJ]
There will be many quotes from today’s health care summit that will get attention. This one may be at the top of several lists:
“Almost two hours into the summit, President Obama says “we’re running over” because opening statements took too long.
“There was an imbalance on the opening statements because I’m the president,” he says as participants laugh, and he adds that he didn’t count his own time.”
And this one:
“With the summit, McCain said, Obama was finally making good on his promise as a candidate to put health care overhaul negotiations on television so the U.S. public could see the process.
“Both of us during the campaign promised change in Washington,” McCain said. “In fact, eight times [as a candidate] you said that negotiations on health care reform would be broadcast on C-SPAN cameras,” he said. “I’m glad that more than a year later they are, here. Unfortunately, this product was not produced in that fashion, it was produced behind closed doors.
“Special deals for the special interests and favored few” should be removed from the health care legislation, McCain said.
Obama said in response, “Let me just make this point, John, because we’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over.”
“I am reminded of that every day,” McCain said, forcing a smile.”
I also noticed this quote that probably won’t get much, if any, attention:
“We can have a debate about process, or we can have a debate about how we’re going to help the American people,” Obama told McCain. “The latter debate is the one they care about more.’”
I’m not sure I agree with Obama’s statement, although on the surface it sounds like something most people would agree with. I think Obama’s quote shows he has finally abandoned the pretense of being all things to all people by appealing to process and substance. Instead, he returned to his Democratic roots and is focusing on substance — that is, he returned to promising just results instead of a fair and equal process. The problem with this is that someone has to decide what “just” results are. Whether it’s Sarah Palin’s ‘death panel’ or Keith Olbermann’s ‘life panel’, government is ultimately the decider under ObamaCare and that will lead to inconsistent and difficult-to-appeal results.
I think Americans believe in fair and equal process and are instinctively leery of promises to give everyone the results they want. That’s one of many reasons why Americans are questioning Obama’s health care legislation and why they believe it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who have the burden to convince us they’re right in today’s health care summit.