What Obama needs to pass his health care restructuring bill is a good political crisis. One in which he can stand there and proclaim, as he did with the stimulus bill, that we are on the edge of a catastrophe.
And since the only way such a bill will be passed, if at all, is through a budget reconciliation process, there must be a crisis large enough to merit bending, if not disregarding, pesky Senate rules which would make such a process untenable.
What Obama needs is a political crisis of the first magnitude. A situation in which politics is so polarized, and Washington seems so immobilized, that all norms are thrown aside.
Hence, the increasing background noise in the past couple of weeks about Washington being broken and frozen. In fact, Obama has been hitting legislative singles and doubles for the past year, and only has been denied the home run he desires.
And that is the purpose of the health care summit. If Obama truly wanted compromise, he could have included Republicans in the process from the start, and taken a slow approach built on consensus, rather than a grand plan to restructure the health care system around increased government control.
If Obama truly wanted compromise, he would not be rolling out a final bill any day accompanied by plenty of leaks threatening to go the reconciliation route.
True compromise is the last thing Obama wants, because at most that would be another single or double.
The point of the health care summit is to create an impasse in front of the television cameras, so that gridlock and legislative meltdown is the alternative to Obamacare. A situation in which public anger is deflected towards Republican Senators.
Senators figuratively spitting at each other on TV is what Obama needs to create his illusion of crisis. And as we know, Obama will not let such a crisis go to waste.
Update: Here’s how the L.A. Times describes the new strategy:
As voters lose patience with political gridlock, the Obama administration is embarking on a strategy aimed at putting Republicans on the spot: Either participate in bipartisan exchanges initiated by the president, or be portrayed as the party of obstruction.
The new approach is part of a series of adjustments the White House is making as it deals with the aftermath of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, which cost Democrats their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
As with almost everything about this administration, “compromise” is a ruse designed to achieve anything but compromise, yet another phony Obama-ism.