Monday, February 01, 2010

Moving forward, together?

The main thrust of what I witnessed during the President's spiel at the House GOP retreat, was not his humbling and conciliatory opening, but his clear grasp of what is truly happening in Washington. The National GOP has only one goal right now, and that is to simply vote now, regardless of whether ideological support should exists. He called them on it:
I didn't understand then, and I still don't understand, why we got opposition in this caucus for almost $300 billion in badly needed tax cuts for the American people, or COBRA coverage to help Americans who've lost jobs in this recession to keep the health insurance that they desperately needed, or opposition to putting Americans to work laying broadband and rebuilding roads and bridges and breaking ground on new construction projects.

There was an interesting headline in CNN today: "Americans disapprove of stimulus, but like every policy in it." And there was a poll that showed that if you broke it down into its component parts, 80 percent approved of the tax cuts, 80 percent approved of the infrastructure, 80 percent approved of the assistance to the unemployed.

Well, that's what the Recovery Act was. And let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities. Now, I understand some of you had some philosophical differences perhaps on the just the concept of government spending, but, as I recall, opposition was declared before we had a chance to actually meet and exchange ideas. And I saw that as a missed opportunity.
Why is it the Right so adamant about Political purity of ideological purity especially when it is inconsistent with that constituency?

And on Health Care reform:
I mean, to be fair, the status quo is working for the insurance industry, but it's not working for the American people. It's not working for our federal budget. It needs to change.

This is a big problem, and all of us are called on to solve it. And that's why, from the start, I sought out and supported ideas from Republicans. I even talked about an issue that has been a holy grail for a lot of you, which was tort reform, and said that I'd be willing to work together as part of a comprehensive package to deal with it. I just didn't get a lot of nibbles.

Creating a high-risk pool for uninsured folks with preexisting conditions, that wasn't my idea, it was Senator McCain's. And I supported it, and it got incorporated into our approach. Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines to add choice and competition and bring down costs for businesses and consumers -- that's an idea that some of you I suspect included in this better solutions; that's an idea that was incorporated into our package. And I support it, provided that we do it hand in hand with broader reforms that protect benefits and protect patients and protect the American people.

A number of you have suggested creating pools where self-employed and small businesses could buy insurance. That was a good idea. I embraced it. Some of you supported efforts to provide insurance to children and let kids remain covered on their parents' insurance until they're 25 or 26. I supported that. That's part of our package. I supported a number of other ideas, from incentivizing wellness to creating an affordable catastrophic insurance option for young people that came from Republicans like Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe in the Senate, and I'm sure from some of you as well. So when you say I ought to be willing to accept Republican ideas on health care, let's be clear: I have.

Bipartisanship -- not for its own sake but to solve problems -- that's what our constituents, the American people, need from us right now. All of us then have a choice to make. We have to choose whether we're going to be politicians first or partners for progress; whether we're going to put success at the polls ahead of the lasting success we can achieve together for America.
Lets just say I cringe when anyone tries to say that this administration and the majority party is trying to ram through anything without consultation and incorporation of ideas from the minority. IT pains me to see reaching out taking place, ideas merged, and then the opposition votes 'No' anyway.

The President is being a leader, and his long overdue move to the middle is going to create an opportunity to keep this economic recovery going. I just wish people would sit back and owrk together to make that happen, rather then obstruct the policy just out of spite. That goes for both sides of the aisle.


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