Ima tell ya what I think about the Health Care Summit. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the President is displaying great initiative to get back on track with health reform, but the circus that is Congress at the moment is not in the right mindset to handle these negotiations.
The one problem I have with this summit is that it is being televised. I understand the government’s need to become more transparent, but broadcasting this event live diminishes the hope of putting politics aside and pushing towards bipartisanship. The Republican Party has strong-armed with politics since democrats took over majority in Congress last year; it’s just a way of life for them to make things difficult when not going their way. Now the Democratic Party is wading in the water with the republican surprise senate win in Massachusetts, flashing a caution sign in their minds on what lies ahead with an increasingly impatient American public. Pit these two head-butting foes against each other on a national stage live and you are asking for a catastrophe. The one thing both these parties value most is their constituents, because the state and the people that support these congressmen and women are what supplies the power and leadership role so greedily desired. If you ask them to abandon items their voters specifically want for their state or community; well then you sacrifice their vote for the bill and/or succumb to the filibuster. Now many members of congress may be willing to sacrifice a little when behind closed doors, but put this debate on television where viewers can put a face to a name and ultimately you will never see compromise. The men and women of Congress will surely take note of the cameras in the room and be sure to put on a show for their constituents and lobbyists, for it is the only way they can insure re-election in the following year.
Thus the state of politics in our current era: More time and money is devoted toward campaigning for the following year than effort toward solving the problems of the present.
Now we have already seen the President succeed in the congregation of opposing sides with last year’s cleverly tagged “Beer Summit”, so he is 1-0. This summit though, marks a much more significant landmark for the administration and will determine the future of the health care talks. The time for reform is now as indicated by the American people and as always the ball sits with Congress, so hopefully they will show that time is of the essence in their efforts Thursday. As the old saying goes, “the camera doesn’t lie”, but will the players on the television screen speak with truth and fact? Only time can tell, but the informed citizen will be watching to either call out their representative for a scripted reality show worthy performance, or applaud them for achieving a historical milestone in our country’s progress.