DECLARE VICTORY AND PASS THE BILL…. I’m not entirely clear on the format/schedule for tomorrow’s health care summit at the White House, but I suspect that at the end of the gathering, President Obama will thank the attendees for participating and deliver a brief set of remarks to the country.
Why not just declare victory right there on the spot?
It’s not hard to imagine the president explaining, before lawmakers even leave the room, directly to the cameras:
“Americans can be proud of the work done here today. Democrats and Republicans sat in the same room, in an open and transparent way, and had a substantive discussion about how to improve a system that we all agree desperately needs to be fixed.
“The result of these talks is a proposal that all Americans can feel good about. It’s a sensible compromise, which will work and make the country stronger.
“No one party or institution in this debate got everything they asked for, including my administration, but that’s true of any compromise. Democrats had to make some concessions through this process, but they can feel good about the consumer protections, coverage for the uninsured, and an emphasis on affordability for the middle class included in this compromise. Republicans have been reluctant, but they too can also feel good about the fact that this compromise offers an incremental plan that dramatically reduces the deficit, reduces costs, encourages innovation at the state level, and includes benefits for small businesses.
“This consensus plan will help save Americans lives. It will help our economy grow and be more competitive. It will help guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. It will rely on a competitive marketplace, without an excessive role for the federal government. Families worried about medical bankruptcy will at long last have some peace of mind.
“The cynics and skeptics said it couldn’t be done, but what we’ve managed to produce today is a triumph of bipartisan policymaking, the result of hard-working officials who put country over party, solutions over ideology. Americans asked all of us to work together on crafting centrist, mainstream, moderate reform package, and that’s exactly what we’ve produced.”
Of course, Obama could say this without changing a thing, because this rhetoric already describes the plan Democrats have put forward.
But why not simply say it anyway? Why not offer the Democratic plan as the moderate, bipartisan approach, reframing the package and forcing Republicans to oppose a compromise package that includes their own ideas?