We are two weeks away from the President's royal rumble....the meeting between the Democrats and Republicans on health care.
Let me pull the curtain back for a minute and let you view what will be laid out.
The true emphasis of this is that nothing can actually come out of the meeting. The hard core Democrats have a dozen major things which must happen or they won't vote for the heath changes. The Republicans have pretty much set the whole current process into the corner. Nothing from the 2,000-plus page bill can pass. The President now realizes the poker game is basically lost and he's standing with a hand that is lose-lose-lose.
Rather than concede this poker game and say he's lost to the public....which is what most President's would do (and even Rep Pelosi would readily concede at this point)....he's gone to the next level of losing poker. He wants everyone in the room to see his cards and let them comment on how they would have done better in this poker game if they had done "A, B, and C". In fact, he wants them to view the cards in public....on national TV....and offer their opinion of the losing cards.
After enough of these opinions on how lose with the hand of "cards".....the President will stand up and offer this passionate speech (memorized of course) and speak for about three minutes on the rights of people to have health care in America. It will be this five-star moment....the plea of poor mothers, the plea for unemployed folks, the plea for marginal pay folks, etc. It'll be a moment that you'd almost weep over.
In a normal situation....at this point....the Republicans would look like idiots and have to fold up their tent. Their gains over the past 100 days disappear overnight. Their strategy of facing up to the Democrats collapses. And the chances of getting seats in both the Senate and House disappear as night falls across the heartland. At least that should be the final outcome of this meeting.
The thing is.....if the Republicans were thinking for a moment and preparing themselves.....they could probably change this outcome.
I would select only twelve Republicans to attend the meeting....no more than that.
I would have one Republican well versed in tort reform....likely a lawyer at heart.....and let him passionately set the stage for a major change that would likely trim eight percent off the national costs for health care.
I would have one Republican well versed in the idea of letting insurance companies set up policies that go beyond state lines. A national program would likely have a major effect and decrease costs by a minimum of six to eight percent.
I would have one Republican whose only purpose is to argue the idea of higher deductibles for a generalized policy concept. Face it.....if you had a guy who had previous health history which was negative and you offered him a chance to sign up for a policy which involved the first $6000 each year to be on his own cost....and then the policy kicked in....with the same rate as most other folks in America....then he'd be open to the idea.
The other eight Republicans? Just there for looks....that's all.
Then the twelfth man. I agree with Charles Krauthammer. Bring in Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. I would place Paul at the end of the room and let him quietly sit there until the President's passionate speech where the Republicans should fall apart. As quietness fills the room...Paul stands and pulls out a thin book from his jacket pocket....entitled "The Constitution".
At this point, Paul lectures the President on rights. Having a car, is not a right. Speaking up to another individual is a right. Sales of beer is a right. Having cheap car insurance is not a right. Having access to internet is not a right. And finally....Paul will let the President know that he's taken millions of Americans down a path and made them think that they actually have a right to health care. They don't.
The President will stand there and it'll be a moment that he hadn't anticipated. There is no comeback that can settle this debate with Paul. If the President still argues that it's a right.....it becomes this national debate about the Constitution and it's effects. With two supreme court replacement episodes anticipated this year.....this is the wrong time and wrong place to talk about the Constitution and its true character.
As the meeting ends that day.....the media will put the spin on the event.
Here's the thing....nothing really gets achieved to be passable. So the Democrats go to plan "B", which we already know that exists. It's the creation of a mini-bill of sorts which fits for the "51-vote" passage scenario. It'll be a bill without much to brag about other than passing a true-Democrat supported bill. Most health experts will stand there laughing because it's basically beef stew, but without beef, potatoes, salt, and pepper.
It'll be a moment worthy of Saturday Night Live....except there's no laughter by anyone. And the millions who thought that the Democrats had every card in their possession to fix a problem....wake up to realize that the Party is really marginalized and without a vision. This was a poker game with the all the right cards handed to the players on one side....yet they simply couldn't bring themselves to win. And the best they could do....was to show the losing cards in their hand and ask for the opinions of the Republicans on how to play a bad hand of poker.