But Obama is not willing to enter into health care negotiations with Republicans without preconditions.
In inviting Republicans to the negotiating table for the first time later this month, Obama has imposed the precondition that the negotiations start with the Democratic versions of health care legislation:
White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party.
Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.
“This is not starting over,” one White House official said, who requested anonymity in order to discuss administration strategy. “Don’t make any mistake about that. We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan.”
The official added: “What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so — but he is going to move forward on health reform.”
Obama’s plan seems to be tweaks, at most, to otherwise unpopular and disastrous legislation, so that Republicans can share the blame in voters’ eyes.
Put lipstick on Democrats’ legislative pig. That is an easy offer to refuse.
Negotiations without preconditions. That would be the place to start.