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The Democrats' health-care ambush failed

The White House health-care summit has broadcast the policy debate, but it is difficult to see how it has changed the policy debate. Both sides generally made their cases in a civil and serious fashion. But Democrats carried a burden into the meeting. On the wrong side of political momentum, they needed a breakthrough of some sort. They didn’t get it.

President Obama, as usual, was fluent, professorial and occasionally prickly. Some are impressed by the president’s informed, academic manner. Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar. All the students -- I mean elected legislators -- were informed if their arguments were “legitimate” or not. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was arrogantly instructed that the “election’s over.”

There was a stature gap in the room, but not between Obama and the Republicans (as at the House Republican retreat). The stature gap was between Obama and his fellow Democrats. I would bet against any legislative team that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who turned in a nasty, embarrassing performance.

Republicans accomplished two purposes. They made sophisticated arguments respectfully, in contrast to the tone of a radio rant or a tweet by Sarah Palin. And Republicans made clear that they have alternative health-reform ideas, undermining the accusation that they are merely the “party of no.” They knew they were entering a trap and seemed prepared.
Two developments that preceded the summit, however, made the summit itself largely irrelevant in terms of policy debate.

First, in finally setting forth of the details of his own plan, Obama essentially dropped the major cost control component of Democratic reform -- delaying a tax increase on high-cost health plans until 2018 under pressure from unions. So the president is now promising all the goodies of health reform without a serious approach to containing health inflation. This seems transparently political and fundamentally unserious.

Second, by signaling a willingness to use reconciliation in passing a Democrat-only bill, Democratic leaders have revealed their outreach to be a pose, a sham. The purpose of reconciliation is to dramatically reduce the influence of Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate negotiating process. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) reminded the president, this legislative maneuver has not been used to pass major social legislation. As Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) has pointed out, its use in this case would permanently diminish the rights of the Senate minority.

Even before the summit began, a Democratic official told Mike Allen of Politico that its purpose was to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans.” The whole exercise, in short, was an ambush. But the quarry, it seems, got away.

By Michael Gerson  | February 25, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Comments

Welfare reform was passed in 1996 via reconciliation. So, no, it's not correct to say that "this legislative maneuver has not been used to pass major social legislation".

Posted by: seantolsen | February 25, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

right on, right on, right on

Posted by: Lynne5 | February 25, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

What a misleading headline. If both parties made their cases in a civil fashion, why do you assume that the democrats where setting up some sort of ambush? Look, republicans can't have it both ways. First they said they weren't involved in any discussions, so now they are involved. Then they said the discussions should be televised and transparent, so they got that too.

What Obama should have learned from this health care summit is it doesn't matter what you try to do with the republicans. There mission is to make sure all legislation fails. Period.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | February 25, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, you are a despicable shill. I love how you characterize a highly publicized and prepared for "summit" as an "ambush".

I've been listening to the summit most of the day and at no point have the proceedings ever been anything less professional than a sincere discussion on the part of the Democrats.

The Republicans have made a few valid points amongst their pandering and posturing for reelection. Talking points have been rehashed by every conservative speaker ad nauseum. They really do not have any new ideas.

Posted by: burtonpaul | February 25, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I saw a bunch of Democrats making great points on one side and a bunch of dimwitted fools carrying around stacks of papers on the other.

P.S. Say hello to your sister Gina for me.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | February 25, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

This post was put up at 5:07. I'm assuming it took about an hour to write (thats generous). So Mr. Gerson wrote this post starting somewhere around 4pm. I just finished watching the summit, and it is 5:27pm. Can you say self-fulfilling??? See what you want to see, much?

Posted by: kangskip | February 25, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's think about this. Gerson says Obama is arrogant when McCain wants to argue past battles lost, and Obama tells him "the election is over."

What was McCain when he told Democrats that wanted to fight battles lost aftet the 2004 election, "elections have consequences?" Gerson is a hack would be politician that would love to be elected to office, but knows he does not have enough electorate appeal to get elected dog catcher in Wasilla, Alaska.

Posted by: kermit5 | February 25, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

GERSON you fool...

President Obama gave the Republicans a huge length
...to come up with their best....

THEY DIDN'T...

and

NOW

President Obama is going to shut them down..

Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 25, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Ambush? How could that have even been possible? Seeing as how the bill in one version or another has been on the table for a year. What could the Dems have done to ambush the Reps?

I'd say that your crowing about how the prey got away is a little over the top.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 25, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Read what you want politically into this (after 10 seconds!) but the facts to counter the 6 months of Republican lies half-way got out to the public. No Republican president in our life-times could do what Obama did over 7 hours! Clinton could have done it but without any courage or convictions.

Let's hope the elderly, who have most to gain or lose immediately, were watching. They are the ones most scared and disoriented by Republican lies. Lies, to recall, do not make a serious ideology or ground to weigh what is best for the country.

Obama challenged at least half of the lies. Gerson was watching another conference?

Posted by: walden1 | February 25, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

GERSON wrote this during the session..

BEFORE it was over..

He posted his artice

Already has an opinion..

BEFORE it was OVER..

YOU and you Republicans
had no honest intent
to make this issue work.

Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 25, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I have pretty low expectations for Gerson, considering he's a known Bush watercarrier, and he consistently fails to achieve them. Everything is delivered with a pro-Republican slant; it's hardly "opinion" when everybody knows what your position is going to be, it's "cheerleading".

Republicans can make all the "respectful arguments" they like, and it is a pleasant change from "You lie!!!", but as long as those arguments rely on discredited math (tax cuts increase revenue) and outright falsehoods (Healthcare reform will cost more, and Obama will raise everyone's taxes to pay for it), they're simply trying once again to hoodwink the public.

It's perfectly true that taxes are going to have to go up, because there's no other way the staggering financial losses suffered during the last 10 years can be recouped. Well, that's not completely accurate - there is another way: slash Medicare and Medicaid. Either would be political suicide for Obama. Don't take that to mean a Republican wouldn't raise taxes - Saint Ronnie Reagan promised not to, and did. If a Republican promises not to raise taxes in the coming years, he/she might not be lying, but you can choose between that and oblivion.

Posted by: marknesop | February 25, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Must have seen a totally different summit, over in what I like to call REALITY, not the hazy bizarro world that Gerson is talking about. I saw the Republicans spouting talking points and trying to relitigate the town halls of last year with exaggerated claims about what is in the bill and the "process" of how it was pulled together in secrecy before televised committee hearings and so. The threat of reconciliation is a legitimate negotiation ploy simply because the Dems are quantifiably in the better position. Gerson whining about not being there and how unfair it is is just plain silly.

Posted by: lloydamy | February 25, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Robert Byrd is a Democrat, not a Republican as it states in the second to last paragraph.

Posted by: jlm101514 | February 25, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse


Sure, Gerson. That's your story and you're sticking to it.

But it would be much more credible if it contained at least some element of truth.

As a professional propaganda writer, you should have learned that lesson by now.

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | February 25, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, you traitorous hack ...

Why don't you take Cheney and your mad scientist playbook back to Russia and leave we American citizens ALONE!

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 25, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

You got it right, Mr. Gerson! Don't pay any attention to these commenters who say otherwise. They cannot stand it that the Democrats failed to trap the Republicans. This is exactly what Pelosi and Reid wanted to do - and it didn't happen. America saw that the Republicans are the ones to lead them out of this mess. Bring on November - and 2012 cannot get here soon enough!

Posted by: georges2 | February 25, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

I guess you have that sixth sense where you know what something is intended to be without even being in a strategy session. Since it was obviously not an ambush I guess you are wrong. But then again, you are a partisan who cares more about driving a wedge between the people rather than finding some common ground. Wait, you're a pundit now so I guess driving a wedge between the American public is how you make your money.

Posted by: BigB1 | February 25, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh gee, how did I know this would be the GOP response.

No matter what happened, Gerrson's headline would have been Obama failed.

It's a steady drumbeat that started 2 months after he took office, and it's getting old.

Did Obama fail to knock some sense into the thick GOP skulls? Of course he did. The GOP is not interested in listening or learning or working to improve the lives of Americans.

The only thing they're interested in is making sure that Obama fails, fails, fails, fails.............

Pathetic.

Posted by: kurthunt | February 25, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, Gerson, Gerson, AMBUSH?
The definition of an AMBUSH is a sneak attack--to be blind- sided.
The Republicans were invited to take part in this session. The President published an 11-Page Summary of his Points days before the session. I knew about the proposal so Iam sure Mr Gerson knew about them too. So to use the term AMBUSH is MISLEADING.
We need HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW One will have to be a MORON not to realize this. So what do we do Mr Gerson? DO NOTHING?
We need health care reform NOW,
If the Democratic Party has to pass it through RECONCILLATION so be it.
See you at the Polls.

Posted by: Carprin | February 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

.
.
.

LOL!!! AMBUSH?!!

You are a complete moron Gerson. A sad moron at that.

What an idiot.

.
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Posted by: A-Voter | February 25, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

These reader comments are so predictable. You folks saw and heard what you wanted. this bill is dead, stick a fork in it!

Posted by: luvpool | February 25, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you are correct that the Republicans have put forth some ideas - tort reform, allowing insurance customers to buy over state lines, etc. However, none of these solutions address the discrepancy between the insurance companies' multi-billion dollar quarterly profits and their refusal to cover basic medical visits. Of course, businesses should be able to make a profit. But you can't honestly tell me that 30% rate increases "to control costs" are warranted when that same company is making $2.5 billion in profits every 3 months!

Posted by: damascuspride04 | February 25, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

There was no ambush because it was noted everyone got out to say what they wanted to say and point out some little know facts although Paul Ryan may have some valid point but he miss the mark on the issue of coverage. Others have talked about cost and what's driving it and what the Senate plan is supposed to achieve.

It seems that you are putting partisan spin which is why you lost me after the second paragraph.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 25, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

.
.
.

LOL!!! AMBUSH?!!

You are a complete moron Gerson. A sad moron at that.

What an idiot.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Posted by: A-Voter | February 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

What I saw was a party that had NO answers to the problem of over 30 million people having no coverage.

Instead, they talked about a plan to cover 3 million.

The Republicans brought nothing. No wonder some of their allies worried that there would be an "ambush."

Guess what? They ambushed themselves.

Posted by: mainer2 | February 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Post Partisan for sure. Gerson is a party hack. There's no need for him to write for this newspaper. His opinion will never deviate or surprise... we learn nothing.

Posted by: staff1 | February 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse


If we were both listening to the same broadcast, the one striking comment I continually heard from the right was "kill the current bill in Congress."

Riiiiight, and if you think that's going to happen...

So maybe the answer is for the Republicans to work with the majority Democrats on a more bipartisan bill, instead of being the Party of No,

Along with the argument that "2/3rds of Americans don't want the current health care bill in Congress."

When in fact the poll stated that a majority of those who don't like the current health care bill in Congress was because it didn't include the "Public Option."

Republicans are the minority here! Except it! And if the Democrats don't succeed in lowering the costs of health care, and aren't able to eliminate the current problems, then you can say, "I told you so!"

Until then, accept it!


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 25, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, enough of your creepy, paranoid, political hackery! We were watching the session, so it's obvious to us that your take on what we all just witnessed together over television is bushing nonsense. It's so dishonest. You should be ashamed, and would be if you had the sense and the honesty.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | February 25, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that explaining the facts of the matter is always condescending when it is done by a Democrat? One of the things you should get through your head is that "common sense" is just that, common. What we really need in our leaders is uncommon sense. Thankfully, we now have some of that. And using it is not condescending, it is necessary to real leadership.

Posted by: wordsmith1 | February 25, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Once again this little tweet showers himself in drivel . No wonder Bush was such a failure, combining this ignorant tweet with his own legendary stupidity. Obama embarrased the Republican leadership. Boner and McConman are disgusting. Pass this bill and to hell with these sewer rats.

Posted by: MyCut | February 25, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

It was mere political theatre, as expected. What wasn't expected was how little headway the Dems were able to make with this circus. And Obama was indeed condescending, over and over, though he manages to disguise it with his apparent civility and faux solicitousness.

I think the summit did as much to highlight differences among Dems - even though Bart Stupak was conspicuously excluded - as it did to cast Repubicans as the evil opposition. If today's exchange is any indication, Obama is apt to have a tough time in both the House and the Senate getting the votes he needs to pass this monstrosity of a "reform" package.

Posted by: stratman1 | February 25, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Gerson you sir are a liar. republicans LIKE YOU whine like a little wet cat while the Democratic Party articulated the reality of life under republican dominated corporate rape of the working American. Gerson you should be doing prison time for your complicity.

Posted by: elderbetty | February 25, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Gerson feels put out by our "professorial" President -- or threatened? The GOP marketing plan is to condemn the President regardless, and Gerson plays his role. He has no brilliant, original, or insightful remarks. He comes across as a resentful student called out for not having done his homework and then blaming the teacher.

The hilarious thing about those who are so scared of the President is that they criticize Obama for all sorts of contradictory things: he can't speak without a teleprompter (except when he's doing so for hours, not missing a beat, and then he's "professorial" which is also apparently bad); he doesn't listen (except when he listens as patiently as a saint to the likes of Sour Grapes McCain -- showing only a few seconds worth of irritation -- compare to Bush); he is a dangerous socialist (except when he's obviously getting flak from both extremes and is trying to find "common ground"). And on and on.

Republicans and Gerson lose credibility when they criticize no matter what. It's boring, if nothing else. Tell us something you thought of yourself for a change, Gerson.

Posted by: cturtle1 | February 25, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are traitors to Beck and Limbaugh's agenda of making Obama fail at all costs. They're taking the rest of the country down with their cheap vindictiveness.

Posted by: coloradodog | February 25, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Gerson felt "condescended to" by the POTUS. From the tense of his statement, apparently he typically feels that way.

Mr Gerson, my sincerest condolences to you, your career having cratered to such a degree that you now feel that the POTUS is unfairly dumbing down his comments in order to be understood by you, a former head speechwriter for George W, Bush.

Posted by: PatD1 | February 25, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Byrd is a Democrate and has been in the Senate since 1959. "Byrd a Republican" says all you need to know about Gerson. Fox does this all the time changing party affiliation. Republicans who are in trouble (Vitter, Sanford, Ensign, etc.) always have a D after their name. Coincidence I don't think so.

I watched/listened to the whole summit - and I'm not sure where Gerson was but when McCain kept saying to Pres. Obama "...as you said during the campaign..." Pres. Obama had every right to say "We’re not campaigning anymore, the election is over." Oh Snap!

Posted by: rlj1 | February 25, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

This was a very poorly written article. McCain and the childish obstructionists of the GOP were the heights of arrogance. I am one of many who appreciates a long-overdue White House that no longer has an idiot for a figurehead. The same idiot who created the mess. The same idiot who is like a role-model for the clueless sheep who only spread bigotry, hatred, and obstructionism. The GOP should turn into adults. The tea party psychos should stop learning how to crash planes into buildings.

Posted by: revbookburn | February 25, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I watched all 6 hours. Aside from occasional campaign speeches, what I saw was that almost all of the ideas Republicans brought are already in the bill. That is no surprise, the public option was stripped out in favor of the co-op model. They wanted, it's in there. They want portability across state lines, it's in there. The main difference is that Republicans want to cover 3 million of the uninsured, while the proposed bill covers 30 million. They want HSA, no one is stopping any one from setting one up. They want to focus on tort reform as one of their main sticking points. That at best is worth 1-2% of savings. If I get diabetes, need a foot amputated, I want the right to receive compensation if the doctor takes off the wrong foot. Their real main sticking point is that they don't want government regulated minimum standards. We have it for hamburgers, we need it for medical coverage. No minimum standards = no reform. To recap, most of what Republicans want is already in the bill. What they really want, is to scrap the whole process, then submit the ideas that are already included, stamp their name on it, and claim they saved healthcare reform, after they spent the last year (really 50 years) opposing it.

Posted by: grantmh | February 25, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama was a complete failure, he got slapped down several times on the cost of the bill and the only thing the idiot could say was, "I don't want to get bogged down by numbers" heh of course he doesn't. Most scam artists don't.

Posted by: robtr | February 25, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I am going to venture a guess here and say the new GOP talking point will be that Obama was condescending and treated the GOP Congressional delegation as if they were pupils. It folds right into their attempt to paint Obama as an elitist. I am interested in seeing how often then political commentators coincidentally use the same analogy over the next few days.

Posted by: AreYouPeopleCrazy | February 25, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"transparently political and fundamentally unserious"

Didn't Bush and the Republicans pass unfunded (or debt funded) Medicare Part C and Part D through reconciliation along with massive tax cuts for the wealthy?

Now that was political and unserious. Not to mention irresponsible.

Gerson, did you argue against doing those things?

Posted by: jmkm81493 | February 25, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

could not have beenn Obama speaking,
he had no teleprompter!

that puts to bed that other GOP lie - that he needs one to talk about issues.

Posted by: nwerle | February 25, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

NOW I get it. I kept hearing that the dems were planning a "set-up" of the reps. That was the big talking point that all reps repeated on all the talk shows.

Of course no "set up" was ever planned. But now that the summit is over, they can say they FOILED the "set-up". Oh, God, they are good at this message machining--but not at governing and getting laws passed.

These men are just not qualified to be leaders of anything outside a schoolyard.

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | February 25, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Did we view the same event? There was McCain who's been cranky since the election. There were the same old props - 2700 pages of the health care bill. Do we have elected officials who can't read well? The same tired talking points. And the lies.

Mr. Gerson, I assume you make a decent income and have good health insurance. Don't you think it selfish of you to deny health insurance to working people who don't make as much as you?

Get it done Democrats with or without your belligerent cohorts. Millions of Americans are depending on you.

Posted by: MNUSA | February 25, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

This summit was a strategic error by the Democrats.

During this meeting it was plainly obvious that the Republicans really DO care about heath care reform.

This blows away the Democrat's assertion that Republicans don't care and revealed the truth: Republicans have some better ideas at acheiving this that the Democrats REFUSE to acknowledge.

From now on the Democrats will no longer be able push with a straight face their "Party of No" accusation to the independent voters.

I wonder if the Post's reporters were paying enough attention to notice this?

Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 25, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, thanks for a very good article. Narcissistic Obama definitely inserted himself as The One. Reid was borrring, Princess Pelosi was contemptuous as usual. It was the farce everyone predicted it would be. The Republicans came well prepared, and the Democrats relied on sad tales.

I think it was only a ploy to forewarn the angry majority of dissenting Americans of a repugnant plot to force this debacle through by reconciliation. They should be very, very, careful as this will set a precedent and will come back to bite them in the backside. It will most certainly be career suicide for many Democrats come Nov., and will not be forgotten in 2012 either.

Posted by: inmanorj | February 25, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Whatever, Gerson, whatever.
Big yawn.

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | February 25, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I watched/listened to the whole summit - and I'm not sure where Gerson was but when McCain kept saying to Pres. Obama "...as you said during the campaign..." Pres. Obama had every right to say "We’re not campaigning anymore, the election is over." Oh Snap!

Posted by: rlj1 | February 25, 2010 6:18 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Poor little Messiah. He just didn't want everyone to be reminded of the cr@p he fed the American public during his campaign.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 25, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Do you have your red jersey on today?? I did not see the whole thing but what I did see was obviously not what you saw. McCain was lame. Boehner just threw out the same old talking points and said that HSAs were perfectly okay. He shut up when Obama asked if he would still say that if he was only earning 40,000/year.
What a bunch of tossers. I think that we need to stop paying for THEIR health care if they do not pass a health reform bill..

Posted by: phorse | February 25, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

robtr wrote: Obama was a complete failure, he got slapped down several times on the cost of the bill and the only thing the idiot could say was, "I don't want to get bogged down by numbers" heh of course he doesn't. Most scam artists don't.

------------

You must have seen a different summit then I did. Republicans tried to use the COB to "slap" down Obama. It was pointed out that the COB stated that ultimately, the bill would REDUCE the deficit. The only one I saw "slapped down" was Mr. Magoo, I mean Senator McCain.

Posted by: grantmh | February 25, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't bear to read more than the first few sentences.

Gerson, why don't you go down to the nearest VA hospital and apologize to the Iraq war veterans for helping lie us into that phony war? I'm sure that they'd love to hear your BS.

Fred Hiatt should be horsewhipped for printing this trash.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 25, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Yep, let's revise reality as quickly as possible and hope people buy it.

Gerson, you're not a journalist - just another propaganda machine.

The only idea the Republicans had was "start over". The main reason Gerson and the Republicans don't like President Obama's "never-ending seminar" is because they don't like facts getting in the way of their spin.

Posted by: bamccampbell | February 25, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to say that the Democrat's bill will insure 30 million as opposed to the Republican's 3 million when the Democrats bill MANDATES people get insurance. Why should a young healthy individual have to buy health insurance if they don't want to? Furthermore, how are we going to PAY for the Democrat's bill. The republicans have offered solutions to make healthcare more affordable, WITHOUT raising taxes. The Dems cannot claim this. They will raise taxes on job creators, in the middle of a recession, and mandate people to get insurance. Now republicans are obstructionists because Dems sprinkled some republican ideas in the bill. Give me a break.

Posted by: painritual | February 25, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Aw, Gerson, what sour grapes. You are just so jealous because there is NO WAY your old boss could have sat at a big table for seven and a half hours with the kind of command of the facts -- and of the dynamics -- that Obama displayed.

Posted by: herzliebster | February 25, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The liberal arguments are funny. THey claim the republicans didn't offer any new ideas. I am not sure these liberals were actually listening either. They challenged Gerson heard what he wanted to hear. Well I think these liberals did the same.

I personally heard the Democrats and the Republicans coming together on some issues, but the major difference seemed to be the issue of pre-existing conditions. I think the republicans should change their views on this. But I also think Obama is wrong for taxing small businesses who do not offer health care coverage for their employees. Stating that everyone needs to pay their fair share. If Obama is to take this approach it should be appplied to all of his policies. Especially when raising income taxes. Why only to the "weathly"? That would imply that the "wealthy" have to pay more than their fair share to suppor everyone else. Just doesn't seem to make sense does it.

Obama also said the the Democratic proposal would cost 10% more for americans than what they are paying today. The coverage might be better, but that is still up for debate.

I heard Republicans quote the CBO report about how healthcare costs would increase out of pocket cost to Americans, but no rebutal from Democrats.

The Democrats didn't really want to hear what the Republicans had to say. All remarks were canned and rehearsed. I was hoping this would have been a real policy debate, but instead it was just a bunch of Democrats patting each other on the back, and Republicans picking apart the Democratic bill.

Personally, Obama and the Democrats did not gain any ground with this summit, but nor did the Republicans. It was just a political show, but if you have to award a winner, I would pick the Republicans. Well prepared today and showed how their plan has as much benefits as the democrat's plan, save the pre-existing conditions piece.

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | February 25, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: painritual:
It's easy to say that the Democrat's bill will insure 30 million as opposed to the Republican's 3 million when the Democrats bill MANDATES people get insurance...The republicans have offered solutions to make healthcare more affordable, WITHOUT raising taxes.
----------

Good news for you, most of their ideas are in the bill. The part that isn't there, is the part where they leave 27 million people uninsured. It's easy to say their ideas won't raise taxes when the reason they don't raise taxes is because they don't cover 27 million Americans. The 27 million they don't cover aren't illegal aliens or "welfare queens" as they would like you to believe, it's working people that make too much for medicaid, but not enough to afford insurance, are self employed, or own or work for a small business. The taxes are marginal on the richest of Americans and are less than what they paid under Reagan. These are people who are rich enough to be able to pay most of their own medical costs with no insurance at all.

Posted by: grantmh | February 25, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Another Democrat mistake:

The Republicans have not had as much media time as the Democrats to explain their position. Probably this is due to the bully pulpit that the President and the majority party usually enjoy.

Nevertheless, this summit finally gave a wider audience for the Republicans to make their points.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 25, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I want to hear more about these "undercover patients" who are going to go forth and root out fraud, saving us 30% off our healthcare costs. Is that serious? That's sounds like about the same thing Arnold the Governator promised to do to balance the CA budget.

Posted by: leftcoaster | February 25, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Ambush is not a word I would use. An ambush is a surprise attack and this wasn't it. I listened to the President's summation and I think that he gave the Republicans a huge opportunity to genuinely participate with their ideas in the construction and approval of a national health plan incorporating views of both sides for the common good.
Republicans have an opportunity to have an impact and shape health care future if they so desire. I think that it is in their interests to do so except for the bridges they have already burned on the subject. It will depend on whether or not they see their future in the negative or the positive.
I am not confident of their ability to make the good choice, however.

Posted by: MTgrassland | February 25, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President–both the election AND obamacare are over

the republicans appeared extremely competent and coherent

obama was diminished for 3 reasons:

1. not briefed well, slothful prep
2. obama grates over more than 1 hour
3. without the presidential pomp and pagentry, obama is diminished and people realize his incompetence

it is very sobering to realize that if obama is this inept when dealing with foreign leaders it is ominous and dangerous for the united states

obamacare–not just dead–its got rigor mortis

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 25, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

This post was put up at 5:07. I'm assuming it took about an hour to write (thats generous). So Mr. Gerson wrote this post starting somewhere around 4pm. I just finished watching the summit, and it is 5:27pm. Can you say self-fulfilling??? See what you want to see, much?

Posted by: kangskip | February 25, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

--------------------

Can you comprehend DEADLINE? What a mouth-breather!

Posted by: UncomfortableTruths | February 25, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Way to hit the Robotlican talking points, MIkey! You got to a version of the word "arrogant" in just the second paragraph!

(Any idea how much longer all you right-wing mouthpieces will be using "arrogant"--or haven't they sent out that memo yet?)

Posted by: ashevilleshep | February 25, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I am so proud of the conservatives in my country. God Bless America.

Posted by: Kansasgirl | February 25, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

obama made a fundamental mistake by appearing on live tv

the media cover his warts and blemishes
in fawning press coverage

but today obama was naked ugly and well, we hate to say it about a president but stupid and unprepared

obama KILLED obamacare today

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 25, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I wish it really was an ambush.

Posted by: rcubedkc | February 25, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't wait until the talks were over to push that "send" button, could you "Axis of Evil" gerson?

You were a bit more credible when you were writing annoying speeches for mr. flightsuit, but that's not saying much, junior.

Posted by: binkynh | February 25, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

How about that tiring, repetitive, off-topic, doddering, petty, John McCain!

He looks like he's about dead, but he INSISTS on sucking the air out of the room with bs talking points, served up only to fend off JD Hayworth's tea-birther bid to take his Senate seat.

Self serving, foot dragging, incoherent old fool. He even cut the President off when Obama tried to shut off his babbling political bull.

Imagine having THAT old dope holding the office, with HIS CHOICE Caribou Barbie on the fringes (and her son on Jimmy Kimmel.) The threat to world peace alone would take 20% off the top of the world's stock markets.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | February 25, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"Ambush" is what the repugnicants HOPED this would be so they could raise the cry of empty partisan politics. Instead, the president was presidential and actually drove some useful communication. That's really the worst of all worlds for the repugs -- can't agree with the dems, but don't have (real) reason to bellyache. Gerson demonstrates here that they will, however.....

So it's the business of "no" as usual.

Posted by: JoeODonnell | February 25, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

For a solid year now the Republicans and especially John McCain have been calling President Obama on the carpet for not following up on his promise to have a transparent, open debate on C-Span. So President Obama does exactly that and what does grumpy old McCain do in front of C-Span cameras, act like the grumpy old uncle. And what do the Republicans say now, they were ambushed? Really?

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 25, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Gerson - I think if you are nice to David Brooks and offer to buy him lunch, he will teach you how to be a conservative writer that people actually want to read. Your partisan attacks on everything Obama just sound like the whining of someone that knows our President (D) is actually right.

Posted by: johnk1000 | February 25, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

grantmh:

The idea of the Republicans that is not in the bill is how not to add to the deficit. Obama said it himself, "this is going to cost money." It shouldn't have to. The republican ideas are quite simple, not 2,000 page pieces of legislation. I don't really care if every single idea of the Republicans are in the bill, they can also be opposed to what is already in there(raiding Medicare for example). I also don't care what you tell me, but when I see big stacks of paper that most people haven't read, then the government is getting too involved. Move to Canada or France already and quit expecting the rich to take care of everyone's problems.

Posted by: painritual | February 25, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The only jerk in the room was the so-called "Professor," Dr. Know-it-all, who is always the least informed and least educated person in the room, not matter what the topic. Yes, I'm talking about ol' Flap Ears himself. McCain was dead-on right to say what he did. It is not reliving the campaign to call ol' Flap Ears out on his repeated lies made during the campaign. McCain was dead-on right to ask why there should be special carve outs to some states and not to others and to point out that the quality of healthcare provided by the government should be dependent on geography. How in the world can anyone consider pointing out these obvious facts accuse the man of campaigning? After all -- it's ol' Flap Ears himself who can't stop campaigning and begin the serious business of governing.

If ol' Flap Ears and the Dimwits pass this bill through so-called "reconcilation, you'd better believe there is going to be a backlash the likes of which this country has never seen, and it may not wait until November. Watching this arrogant, know-nothing sit up there and tell everyone that "he doesn't count his own time talking, because he's the Prezdint" is stomach-churning. For the life of me, I don't see how anyone can bear to look at him or listen to him, much less support him.

I'm voting for A.B.Obama in 2012 (anyone but Obama). Can't wait.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | February 25, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Gerson writes "The Democrats health-care ambush, failed"....and when did you write this article Mr. Gerson? After the healthcare debate ended this afternoon? After you patiently listened to both sides debate their positions,... or did you write this dribble last week, or yesterday, or possibly early this morning...long before it even occured? Your bi-line states it was posted at 5:07 pm. Wow, you must be a fast writer to put all your thoughts down and have it posted in the WP just one minute after the debate concluded this afternoon. Stop the presses, and call the Guiness World Record folks.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 25, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Mr. Gerson. We conservatives know it may be difficult for you to tell it like it is, here at the Post website, but you'll be proven correct and 'right on' at the November elections.
Stew away Dems - your days are numbered.
What was it Howard Dean exclaimed?... YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Posted by: pd2710 | February 25, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

In theory, the summit should have forced the Republicans to clearly state and defend their plan for health-care reform. The fact that the only suggestion they could come up with was malpractice reform (proving who they really represent and care about) showed that they really had nothing to offer. The lame mantra of "start from scratch" may sound good in a evening news sound bite, but was pathetic in what was supposed to be a substantive discussion.

Posted by: JimZ1 | February 25, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Ambush? Reminds of the pathetic Buehner remarks "we don't know where it's going to be," "we don't know how big the room is."

I understand the issues, and the positions of both sides, much better than I did yesterday.

And while there was a fair amount of "campaigning," there was also more discussion of substantive points than we often see.

And, YES, the campaign IS over. John McCain looked like one of the seven dwarfs. Grumpy.

Posted by: jsmith4 | February 25, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

6 hours of narcissistic psychosis........

on live tv

it all fits obama's psych profile........

A failed embittered Presidency can be extremely dangerous--
so a profile of Obama's like FUTURE actions is critical.

In his monumental work "Hitler and Stalin" Alan Bullock notes both Hitler and Stalin were narcissists. ProCounsel is NOT stating Obama is either Hitler or Stalin. But his analysis, written long before Obama's ascendancy, is a useful model.

Bullock explains narcissism on page 11:

"In such a state only the person himself, his needs,feelings and thoughts, everything and and everybody as they relate to him are experienced as fully real, while everybody and everything otherwise lacks reality or interest."

Bullock describes the effects of narcissism and provides a predictive model useful for Obama on page 343:

"Narcissistic personalities are convinced of their special qualities and their superiority over others, and any threat to this self image--such as being criticized, shown up, or defeated--produces a violent outrage and often a desire for revenge."

Bullock cites 3 psychological reactions Stalin used to guard his narcissistic self image. Bullock credits Robert Tucker for these insights on page 356. The 3 reactions to expect for the Obama profile would be:

1. Repression–simply blankly deny the truth, no matter how obvious or even if caught on video

2. Rationalization-Admit but use the fault as proof of his zeal

3. Projection-Obama will attribute to others the motives and attitudes he refuses to admit in himself

Ironically, per the Profile Dems in the House and Senate will be in much more danger from a wounded irrelevant White House than the Republicans, as Obama will deem the Dems unworthy of him--THEY failed NOT him.

Don't believe the profile??

Just go back and review Obama's response to the Detroit airplane bombing. Obama went through all 3 stages above and that analysis is especially instructive as Obama was naked--without senior staff.

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 25, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Ram it down America's throats, Mr President. Shove that ugly baby right up those seniors caboose. That brilliant strategy will pay great dividends in the Fall, and frankly, I look forward to the result. Go for it, boss. And in the immortal words of Don Meredith, "Turn out the lights, the parties over."

Posted by: donchew1 | February 25, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

We the People have a right to expect Congress to act in a manner consistent with due process of law.

Due process includes "the right to be heard in a meaningful forum at a meaningful time."

Reid and his cohorts excluded any GOP participation in any legislative endeavors since the Kenyan was elected. Reid has also circumvented the fundamental protections for the initiation and negotiation process for proposed legislation.

Isn't that how the governments acted in the Third Reich and the Kremlin?

Is this the way we will now conduct legislative activity in the US of A?

The Kenyan was elected "president", not dictator. He fooled the electorate once. Let's see if he can do it twice.

He needs to rush through every socialist program he can before he is "canned" by Ameri-cans.

As to the healthcare plan, its "constitutionality" is in question, and with all excessively large documents "the devil is in the detail", which no one can fully comprehend when something this large is being rammed down our throats.

God Bless America, and its critics be "damned".


Posted by: esquire2 | February 25, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

So, I guess this means the GOP is now elitist...lol

Seriously though, they ARE professional.

They just don't give a rat's backside about anybody but the wealthy. Supremacists, is what they are - they NEED to feel better than.

Trouble is, they ain't :)

Posted by: mmax | February 25, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Gerson,
contrary to your comments, the election IS over,
best,
t

Posted by: TomaszOkon | February 25, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Gerson must have watched this summit on the Limbaugh channel, because what he describes doesn't come close to describing what I saw today. Yes, both sides were mostly civil, but the republicans trotted out the same old lies about government takeovers, and were clearly only worried about protecting insurance companies and their profits, not helping average Americans. This president has expended FAR more energy trying to appease republicans on an issue not only desperately important to people's lives, but also our economic well-being. After adding loads of corporate-friendly amendments, if republicans still won't play, it is time to ram in down their throats. We are sick of their obstructionism.

Posted by: Pearl77 | February 25, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. Everyone has to pay for this EXCEPT the Unions, who are excluded until 2 years after Obama second term might end? WHY just the unions? Why not the tech workers? or the self-employed? Oh that's right - because they don't have big fat Unions to buy off Congress.

I don't want to hear another whiney word about McCain-Feingold and the influence of Special Interests as long as the Democrats have sold their souls to the Union Special Interests while screwing those of us who don't work in unionized jobs.

Posted by: mwcob | February 25, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

This is too precious. Gerson immediately starts revising history. Tell a lie often enough, eh Mr. Gerson?

Your problem is you let your dislike of the President's "manner" override listening to the message. It's a common mistake made by the small minded.

Posted by: arancia12 | February 25, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

What should have been OBVIOUS to anyone listening to this Summit is that the GOP doesn't give a D__M about the USA. Their ONLY real concern is to maintain control of the USA by Mega corporations who are their personal benefactors.

My G_D, anyone can see that the GOP is amoral simply by its refusal to dump and chastise Beck, Hannity, Coulter, Gingrich, Limbaugh, and BUSH AND CHENEY!

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 25, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson your piece is a complete caricature of the Republican arguement, it is complete with details of character flaws of certain people in power, however there is no substantive arguement on how to get people care who need care, it's so utterly transparent it's hardly even worth reading, answer the question, you or your party, how are you going to control health care costs and insure people who need to be insured. The answer is you're not interested. Thankfully we have someone in power who does.

Posted by: gphenn1 | February 25, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

RIP democRATS!!

Posted by: cschotta1 | February 25, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

that was a brillian comment, good thing universal health care isn't a reality that way they can die easily, I'm feeling so much like I've been enlightened by that.

Posted by: gphenn1 | February 25, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Excellent article. Spot on except for an unnecessary attack on ... wait wait who ? but Sarah Palin.

"Republicans ... made sophisticated arguments respectfully, in contrast to the tone of a radio rant or a tweet by Sarah Palin."

Perhaps you haven't read her substantive Facebook policy postings on health care and trot reform ? Her NYT and Washington Post Op-Eds on job-killing Cap & Trade, energy diversity or the Alaskan environment ?

Oh well... a gratuitous attack on Palin will likely garner a few extra thousands of hits. A stain on otherwise excellent journalism.

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 25, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

What an idiot. This was clearly a substantive meeting meant to garner common ground and move toward solutions to major prblems. And partisan hack gerson still plays the stupid game of "it's a trap" after 7 1/2 hour of open cordial debate.

Posted by: John1263 | February 25, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Where's the excellence in denying millions of people access to health care, I just don't see that as excellence?

Posted by: gphenn1 | February 25, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

The simple truth is a majority of citizens do not want this plan.

The simple truth is Obama and the socialist wing want to force this upon people so their narrow, special interests are rewarded at the expense of the nation.

As a taxpaying citizen, one of the 52%, I want this Bill dead.

If Obama et al want to buy votes they should do it with their own money and not the public purse.

This whole event was nothing more than an attempt to shame the opposition, both Democrat and Republican, to vote for this stinking mess of Pork and Bribes.

The shame is on Obama and the Socialcrats!

Posted by: krankyman | February 25, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

An ambush is something done out of sight, hidden. The health care summit was for all the world to see. Good job, Obama!
By the way, see the latest news story on Marco Rubio in Florida? Slick spent hundreds of thousands on himself, make himself comfy, at Republicans expense. What a piggy. Check it out!

Posted by: dudh | February 25, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

kranky man it seems you like the word dead, is that what you want with all the people that don't have health insurance?
Is that really what you want to do with the people who can't afford it.?

Posted by: gphenn1 | February 25, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, You see everything in win/lose political terms but really we need to govern the country well, not play a game to beat the Democrats or Republicans. So you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Try to find something more useful to do with your time in the future. You are not being a useful participant in this democracy.

Posted by: larry9 | February 25, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

arrogantly instructed? try 'useful attempt to avoid public posturing and party commercials' good example of gershon's deficiency here, his absurd defensive reaction

Posted by: e9999999 | February 25, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

America has some real problems, many of them caused by Republicans. The least they could do would be to help or get out of the way.

Posted by: SarahBB | February 25, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you obviously came in after the first act...the one where Sen. Alexander set the tone by telling the President all that was wrong with the current bill and saying that, unless the President and the leadership renounced reconciliation, they weren't going to play in this game. What a shameful display...no new ideas, no willingness to moderate a single position to meet the President's stated willingness to consider some of the things the Republican's want. Nothing! What a sham. I was against reconciliation but now, full speed ahead. "Ram" the bill thru (or, as we of a democratic strip call it, pass the bill the a majority of votes) and let's go fight the next battle; and there will be a next battle. The Republican strategy of delay, obfuscate and lie calls for continuing the fight. I look forward to seeing teeth marks on each and every obstructionist Republican behind!

Posted by: JohnMadison | February 25, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

At 5:47 PM WillSeattle wrote:

"Gerson, you traitorous hack ..."

-------------

Figures some latte-crazed primate would come grunting out of the pacific northwestern rain forest with that entry in the competition for admission to the Museum of Internet Discourse.

It was funny, though.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 25, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

No one has analyzed this issue correctly. The game is over. The Health Care Bill is done once it passed the Senate in December. The Republicans could have killed it. Through real Republican opposition, they could have delayed the passage in the Senate into January and beyond. There is no rule that prevented them from offering amendment after amendment to keep the bill from passing. All it lacked was courage by the Republicans or an understanding of the Senate rules. Now all the Democratic leadership needs to do is pass the Senate Bill in the House and pass reconciliation instructing what changes need to be made. If they want to pass the changes first, then pass the Senate bill in the House, there is no risk of the Senate Bill becoming law. For as Stupid as the Republicans think Obama and Pelosi are, they just lost the war. It is time for the Republicans to regroup and figure out what they will do next time. The game is over, they just do not know that. As far as the Democrats, both the House and the Senate democrats have already taken the tough vote-one more tough vote is not going to make a difference. If they cannot justify the vote, it will not be better with one vote and not two. This bill is the game. If the Democrats pass this bill, which is a foregone result, health care is an entitlement for everyone. It cannot be denied to anyone. Period. Game, set match democrats. Nice going Democrats.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | February 25, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Gerson gets to say Reid was nasty..yet doesn't actually give us a quote or reason why, just the volley..in other words, Gerson had to come up with something negative to say and couldn't criticize Obama on point.
You know Democrats are going to win this, get health care refornm for a country badly needing it and that Republicans will go down in history as the most self-centered, ideology-driven and contemptuous group ever.

Posted by: hrayovac | February 25, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

President Obama was correct when he pointed out that it is no longer 2008. Mr. Obama was not being 'arrogant' or 'uppity' in reminding Senator McCain that there is a time for campaiging and a time for governing.
Mr. McCain is the arrogant one for using the healt care discussion as a chance to posture for his upcoming primary election. Mr. McCain lacked a spine during the last administration - in spite of the fact that the 2000 primaries roughed up McCain more than any Democrat would ever dream of doing.
I do not know what Mr. Gerson expects from the President of the United States. Does he expect a sleeping car porter to walk up and fluff Mr. McCain's pillow to make the Arizona senator more comfortable?
The least that Mr. Gerson could have done was wait until the health care meeting was over. Well, the conservative Kool-Aid is too tempting, eh?

Posted by: meeksj | February 25, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson, you are an a$&. Maybe there was not an ambush planned at all and that is why it "failed".

When will the Post hire a thinking columnist and not a hack former speech writer for a failed president?

Posted by: Mark35 | February 25, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Byrd = D-W.V. It is taking a shockingly long time for a correction to appear.

Posted by: nickplumb | February 25, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

practicing your vocation as Nopublican Party apologist I can see why a summit and forum that would emphasize facts and polite discussions of substance would be considered by you an ambush. Any fair minded observer who watched saw that the Democrats had a clear grasp of the facts.

Meanwhile the opposition came without ideas, stacks of paper as props and proceeded to pull their facts out of the nether regions of their derrières. It is becoming clearer each day that the old Republican Party is dead and has been replaced by a group of automatons who regurgitate irrelevant but inflammatory talking points on cue. If people wonder why the US is not taken seriously or none of our problems are being solved they need look no future to affix blame than the Nopublican Party, Faux News and this paper

Posted by: bfc1949 | February 25, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The Former Bush Speech Writer once again proves he was a absolute waste of Tax Payers Money.

Ambush, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

The Washington Post could have saved some money, and got a few High School Journalism Students to write the Column. At least the Teenagers would have been more Creative.

As Bailin Palin would say, Gerson you are such a "HOOT"!!!

Posted by: austininc4 | February 25, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

You grow up near Illinois you learn all about street thug politicians.

Now everybody can learn about it.

Obama ~ has the manners of a Southside street thug.

I find it difficult to believe this guy made it through college without being prepped for his first set of dentures.

During that entire set not a single Democrat proposed anything new, or useful.

Posted by: muawiyah | February 25, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

First, as a republican mouthpiece. the title of Gerson's article points out both the reason the meeting did not accomplish more, and why the republicans are primarily responsible for the lack of any meaningful movement forward.

By viewing/fearing the meeting as a possible ambush, the republicans went on the defensive rather than engaging in discussion and debate and thereby scuttled the possibility of real dialouge from the outset-out of fear.

An oppening statement from Lamaar Alexander which explicitly restated their oppsition to discussing anything new lest they get caught in an inconsistency, or without adequate response before the cameras. This was follwed by restatements of their oppsition coupled with restatements of their minimalist, protect the status quo, initiatives. In short, they entered the arena afraid of being exposed, afraid of serious honest debate, and thus did succeed in exposing themselves as being afeared of open discussion of ideas on their merits. They preferred to view and discuss the issue with an eye attuned to to political calculation, they further retrenched.

But my favorite line: "President Obama, as usual, was fluent, professorial and occasionally prickly. Some are impressed by the president’s informed, academic manner. Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar."

It is good for you to admit that you find someone who is informed and can fluently explain and discuss the issues of the day as annoying and condescending(condescending: the rightwing's new buzzword/insult for everybody who does not agree with the extreme rightwing, and can rationally explain why they disagree). I assume from this that you would prefer a President who was stammering, uninformed, and incoherent-our most recent former President comes to mind. But, now that you've admitted it, maybe you can get some help to overcome your fear and hatred of reason and informed debate.

Posted by: jmdziuban1 | February 25, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Gerson remind you of Baghdad Bob?

Posted by: Single_Payer | February 25, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Starting this fall a Republican Congress can roll back this fraud. Do Democrats think people are just going to move on after this vote and say "well, I guess I have to turn over my healthcare money and choices to Gov't now."? The Donkeys are rabid, they can't admit no one wants their plan.

Posted by: JohnnyGee | February 25, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "annoying condescension", Gerson's tribalistic banter fits the bill.

Posted by: thecontributist | February 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Mr. Gerson.

This was no "Democratic ambush."

The Republicans came prepared to sing only one song in choir practice: Scrap this bill and start over. That tune was not on the song sheet today. Despite the their repeated attempts at singing it, the President shut them down.

Compromise cannot be reached (as the Republicans claim they want) if you are only willing to accept the other guys doing everything your way. The Republicans are not the majority, they WERE fully included in the process, start to finish, and many of their ideas are included in the bills and the President's proposal.

There was no ambush. Just 20 some Republicans behaving like recalcitrant children.


Posted by: jade_7243 | February 25, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"Personal gain over personal honor," the Republican credo.
No healthcare, No jobs, No balancing the budget says the Party of NO! Only tax cuts for the rich, for themselves.

Vote NO on the Party of NO!

Posted by: chucky-el | February 25, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Gerson - In your words...

"Obama essentially dropped the major cost control component of Democratic reform -- delaying a tax increase on high-cost health plans until 2018 under pressure from unions. So the president is now promising all the goodies of health reform without a serious approach to containing health inflation."

OK so the major cost control in your mind is a tax increase? Are you and idiot? How did you get your job? Forget that question, I do not really want to know.

The costs of health care have nothing to do with tax increases. You could have said it lacks "tort reform" or "competive market structure" or "fee-for-service reform" and I could have thought, "this guy has a clue. But no you removed all doubt.

This bill includes a "mandate" that the Gengrich bill included, which is the only way you will affect "incramental costs". There is nothing that will mitigate aggregate costs short of the Republian plan to just let everyone die a painful and horrible death with no medical care. Over 90% of this bill reflects what Gengrich and the Republican Congress proposed under the Clinton Administration, but now that is not good enough, because it is proposed by a Democrat.

The ball is in the Republicans court now, will they present actual plans and ammendments to the bill, or will they cry foul and continue propogating lies to sway the American public? My bet is on the later.

The "do nothing" Republican plan is no plan at all. The let people die a horrible death approach will not sit with the American people as we are a "shristian nation" correct? (psssst. What would Jesus Do?). If the Republicans opt to obstruct any health care reform at all, they will suffer the consequences as 58% of the American population believes health care reform is a necessity.

Go ahead and roll the dice. Go ahead and be the "party of NO". Go ahead and explain why doing nothing is better then doing something when our health insurance premiums are rising 12% to 25% THIS YEAR.

I can only assume you got your job from a mens room bathroom stall like most Repubicans. At least the clueless and feckless democrats are trying to address the issue.

Posted by: thecontributist | February 25, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

Ambush?

Did you even watch the summit or were you asleep at the switch (re: 9/11)?

I can't understand why the Washington Post prints your B.S.

This is definitely a question of the "have(s) vs. the have not(s)

The republicans are clearly in favor of *fcucking* 95% of all households in the u.s....

yea the 95% that earn less than $100K/year...

Posted by: FranknErnest | February 25, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile... on my first visit 'home' in several years, they're holding ANOTHER set of bake sales, auctions of second-hand stuff, and other forms of suburban begging and fund-raisings. There are signs up all over pleading for donations for a local kid who needs special medical treatment. There is always something....

What a way to run a so-called First-World country.

Posted by: darling_ailie | February 25, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Gerson's LIE fails

Posted by: daveque | February 25, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

President Obama, as usual, was fluent, professorial and occasionally prickly. Some are impressed by the president’s informed, academic manner. Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar. All the students -- I mean elected legislators -- were informed if their arguments were “legitimate” or not. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was arrogantly instructed that the “election’s over.”

===

Too funny - all the conservative pundits parroting the same nonsense. Here's a thought: If you don't want to be treated like a petulant child, stop acting like one.

What a bunch of whiners. Really. Check the monster ego at the door and move on.

Posted by: mikem1 | February 25, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"Annoying condescension?" Fatuous, self-serving and remarkably ignorant of the facts.

Sounds like Gerson to me.

Posted by: jade_7243 | February 25, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

lol

look at all the little libs, with all their hurt feelings. You guys are losing, and you know it, and the only thing you can do is attack Gerson. The reality is that most rational thinking people know that 2 out of the 3 main areas that will contribute to our unsustainable path of national debt are medicare and S.S.

In a time when we should be seriously addressing how to reform these two entitlement programs, we are not only looking to fix this serious issue, but we are looking to add yet another massive entitlement program.

you libs make me laugh, and for that matter, most reasonable thinking people know that you guys views are shared by a very few. I know this has been a tough 12 months or so to be a lib. considering you are losing the public debate in EVERYTHING, but don't worry, you guys will lose the house, then the presidency in 2012, and then you will get to be in the minority again, where you guys can lob your typical vitriol filled vomit.

lol

Posted by: Magox | February 25, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, you are a partisan Butt Head.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | February 25, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

How do you sleep at nite when you lie so much? Reconciliation was used to pass the Bush tax cuts that you loved so much.

Posted by: rbprtman23 | February 25, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

The tone of this article ALMOST sounds reminiscent of the party line expressed by George Bush's political hacks... Oh yeah, Gerson.

Posted by: Observer001 | February 25, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

If an "ambush" is something that you telegraph a year in advance, and spell out your plan of attack in writing in the public domain a week before the event, the United States Army is indeed fortunate that Gerson never decided to join as a tactitian.

Posted by: marknesop | February 25, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry is all wee-weed up with himself and it is America's burden to bear a little longer.

Barry's ailment is his self-love and obsession and lust in the sound of his own voice! As long as he is not cured of this condition he won't be able to hear the will of the American people, EVER.

When I was younger and liberal, Ronald Reagan was lampooned and vilified to such an extend that I would never stop to listen to what he had to say. I regret that; I was wrong; it was my loss. He was a remarkable man and president.

Here is one of the illuminating gems of his prescience that all Americans, especially the young impressionable idealist ones, should hear:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs

Posted by: pouran-doukht | February 25, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Why does this guy have a voice at the Washington Post? A Bush Hack really has no credibility. People like him are a destructive force in our Republic.

Posted by: tbranen | February 25, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post a comment, but I'll just repost one of my favorites (psoted by "losthorizon10"):

I couldn't bear to read more than the first few sentences.

Gerson, why don't you go down to the nearest VA hospital and apologize to the Iraq war veterans for helping lie us into that phony war? I'm sure that they'd love to hear your BS.

Fred Hiatt should be horsewhipped for printing this trash.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 25, 2010

Posted by: gsross | February 25, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is such a NERD and a losing one at that...

And what I mean by that is some nerds are intelligent and kind of cool in their own goofy way, but Gerson is just a plain old loser.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 25, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

It was arrogant of Obama to point out to McCain that the election is over? Did it bother Gerson when after being reelected, Bush said something about having political capital and intending to spend it? All I got out of the discussion was that the Republicans want to start with a blank sheet and have the Dems pass a Republican bill. There's about as much chance of that happening as there was the Dems being able to get the time of day from the GOP during Bush's term. The Democrats are in the majority. That's supposed to matter, and it means that things the Republicans want may not happen. Get over it!

Posted by: A_Reader | February 25, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Liberals consider themselves intellectuals, but their arguments usually amount to nothing more than ad hominem attacks, as they do here, as they call Gerson names like "Butt Head," "A$$," "moron," "idiot," and so on. And that's some of the nicer stuff.

I wish all Americans would read the comment sections at WaPo, so they could get a better idea of what liberals are truly all about.

WaPo recently ran the piece on liberal condescension. Liberals protested mightily, but their actions speak loudly than words.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | February 25, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Considering that several republican points are already in the healthcare bills, why won't the repubs acknowledge that? Why is it that all they can say is "start over?" We've been starting over for 60 years, so when will the gop actually so something constructive for Americans? Excuse me, those Americans not making half a mill a year.

Posted by: mikel7 | February 25, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

A rather silly article.

If the Party of No really got on this issue, taxes would have to go way, way UP.

That is the only way the Party of No could become the Party of Yes.

Under Bush they wouldn't touch this issue with a 10' pole. For good reason.

To cover all Americans and give the rich another tax cut, keep the doctors cash fat and happy as well as the hospitals, device makers and most of all the Insurance Companies with their billions making even more, would require the Party of No, to raise taxes on the backs of the people.

There is simply no other way they could begin to fix the problem. They would start with the need to raise income for the corporations who feed on the system now.

This is why they hate to even talk about Health Care and why they don't want to make any decisions.

Posted by: Mnnngj | February 25, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Gerson states:

Second, by signaling a willingness to use reconciliation in passing a Democrat-only bill, Democratic leaders have revealed their outreach to be a pose, a sham.

Let's see. Bush used reconciliation in 2001 and 2003 for tax cuts and 2004 for ANWR drilling (which failed to get a majority vote). Bush ran on bipartisanship, promising to reach out to he opposing party. Now we understand that this was a sham. Gerson was part of the administration which participated in a sham. Why is he treated as a disinterested editorialist by WaPo?

The central question that was answered was,
as Pearlstein notes, whether 30 million uninsured Americans were to be covered. The Republicans said no, unequivocally. The Democrats may say yes (Obama has). That is the major difference between the two parties--one believes we can only afford trillion dollar tax cuts for the top 1% and the other thinks we can spend a trillion for the lowest 10%. Which party is more Christian (and remember the moneychangers and eye of the needle before you answer, Gerson)?

Posted by: garbage1 | February 25, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

In the good, old days, a column this feeble and blatantly dishonest never would have made it onto the pages of the once-fine Washington Post.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | February 25, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

The president came across as a bully.....He was ultimately upstaged by the up and coming GOP heavy hitters...Eric Canto and Paul Ryan...Read: The Bullying pulpit...at....
http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ronsuev | February 26, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

A rare serious debate on health care is an ambush? It really shows that Gerson thinks this is games. To many people know better.

As for reconciliation, its been used a lot more than a filibuster. No reason the Dems should tie themselves up over this phony issue.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | February 26, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Robert Byrd is a DEMOCRAT not a republican.

Posted by: marcom_news | February 26, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at the number of totally deceived idiots on here attacking Gerson. Libs/Dems/Socialists, all believing they were somehow "strong" in the meeting. You people were feeble and pathetic. As for big lips obama, HE needs to learn that the campaign is over. If anyone needs to learn it, it's that loser. Believe what you want. You're all going to be in shock come November, when there are few "Dems" left in Congress at all. The People know what you are. I'd like to say it's been swell, having you around, but that would be a lie. Dems/Libs/Socialists, you all suck.

Posted by: wsmax54 | February 26, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

The House and the Senate have been playing politics with the Health Care bill. The Democrats are attempting to give the people the health care that they need. John Bohner said in the health care summit that we have the best health care system in the world. This just shows how out of touch the Republicans are. We, the US of A has the worst health care of any of the industrialized nations anywhere in the world. Everyone knows that the Senators and Congress Representatives are being given huge sums of money from the insurance industry to oppose the health care legislation. We elect our Senators and congressional Representatives to represent us, not big business. The polls just last week showed that 58 percent of the people support health care reform. If we have health care reform the doctors will be better able to take care of their patients, with fewer write offs on taxes. The hospitals will again make a profit. There will be more taxes flowing in because of the health care bill. In Economics you learn that a dollar must go around 5 times to build the economy. If the Republicans had their way it would stop moving at all, anf the people would be living on scrapes. In the next elections vote out anyone that blocked the health care bill or voted against it.

Posted by: newsjunkie1 | February 26, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

lets see now, your are the presbyterian that stood in front of america and lied out your ass, since you were the hack that put the words in dumbass bushes mouth, that iraq had wmd's.surely justified in your mind as lying for the greater good. so your a scumbag that believes in situational ethics. you tell the truth only when its convenient for you. an evangelical that spits on the commandment thou shall not lie. thats a moses rule isn't it, but you sanctimonious white trash christians are all the same, gutter values and about as trustworthy as a snake. too bad you had good insurance, too bad that heart attack didn't kill you, the world would have been a better place.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | February 26, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

When Obama knows what he is talking about, he is "academic" and "professorial." When President Bush was ready, fire, aim, that made him "decisive." I'll take the former, thank you.

Posted by: Jaywalker2008 | February 26, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

translations: ambush - loaded word. failed - predetermined conclusion, from which derives the evidence and leads backward. that was (too) easy.

Posted by: daphne5 | February 26, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

What does one expect from Gerson, this washed up self-impotent--yes impotent, neocon twit who coined the nut job mantra "Smoking Gun/Mushroom Cloud" and "Axis of Evil" is now declaring victory, an "ambush" no, it is called a public venue. Ambush is what you consistently do to the truth and the Constitution.

Posted by: cisconwa | February 26, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank God Barack Obama is our president. No one in America could do a better job than he does. Members of the media, it is time that you start expressing the truth about President Obama: he really does want to work with the Republicans.

Posted by: BooJa | February 26, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

I never figured what, in fact, was the purpose of the summit. I know what the Dems said, but since everybody already knew what they other guy's ideas are, it's hard to believe them. So I guessed the idea was to win over the voters to Obamacare in which case the summit seems to have been a waste of time. I think the Dems lost by not actually winning and the Pubs won by not actually losing. The polls will tell us.

Posted by: Auburninbp | February 26, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, you must be directly over the target as you've received considerable incoming flak!

Much directed to you in what is, sadly, a 'typical' paid blogger format.

Here's my two cents:
I watched the whole bloody thing. Dems had their heads handed to them in a Conservatively sensible basket. Bam chose horrible Dems, probably because he was to be ‘Da Won’ on his perma-campaign tour. His comment about ‘I’m the President’ and thus, didn’t count his time on the Dem side showed his blockheaded, narcissistic side. Come to think of it, that’s the only side he’s got.

When McCain voiced a very reasonable objection to the shameful backroom deals, Bam went on about ‘this was supposed to be about healthcare’. Well, the process of sausage making is very critical to the finished product. If the abattoir is filthy and filled with vile maggoty vermin, no one would desire the louse-filled morsel.

The entire bill and process is stinks to high heaven. As does the majority of the vacuous Dems who likely still haven’t read anything more than the Rahm/Axlerod/Podesta talking points memo. Dunderheads, the lot. Can’t wait until midterms.

Posted by: sak61 | February 26, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I wish WAPO would follow their own rules and remove about half of these rude comments and personal attacks. "User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions." Yeah...


Posted by: BennThere | February 26, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
26 February 2010

It would be understandable if Michael Gerson, a true-blue conservative who was once a speechwriter for George W--should make a routine spin in favor of Republicans.

But to characterize the Summit on Health-Care Reform which President Obama convened at Blair House yesterday--and which was nationally televised for all of seven hours--as a Democratic "ambush" is to distort the truth.

The truth is that the Summit was President Obama's sincere but final effort to get Republicans on board health-care reform. He must have known long before the Summit that the Republicans would agree to "reform" ONLY if he and the Democrats agreed: 1) to go back completely to square one; or 2) to substitute the Democratic version of it with a Republican version.

But he convened the Summit anyway--and made sure that the 7-hour meeting was televised nationally so that the whole nation would know who really were for reforming a system that was conceded to be financially unsustainable, and who were not.

Now President Obama and the Democrats can go ahead and pass health-care reform completely on their own, and forget about getting even one Republican "yes" vote. They can do it--and they will do it.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | February 26, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

"The election is over?" What a joke...Obama is ALWAYS campaigning. Wait and see the firestorm that erupts if he brazenly passes this monstrous bill. Most of these Democrats are not reading the writing on the wall or they do not care what the public wants which is to START OVER. It was sickening to hear Pelosi talk abot ehat middle calss familiew need- how would her arrogant old self ever know about that. She has a new jet to travel all over the world at our expesne and she lives the life of royalty. These people need to be voted out ASAP - they are out of touch with reality and do not care what most Americans need or want.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | February 26, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Wishful GOP Thinking + Lies For Christ = The Rev. Mikey Gerson

Posted by: misterjrthed | February 26, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are correct in rejecting the ObamaCare, welfare bill. That monstrosity will destroy the Democrats who created it. Democrats, at this point, merely want to share their misery and blame.

What fool wants a piece of that???

Posted by: battleground51 | February 26, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

WHAT AMBUSH?

Posted by: phyllisr5 | February 26, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a cranky, old fool and an Obamaton. He's staked his future on Barack H. Obama and now realizes what a mistake that was but knows it's too late to back out.

Harry Reid will not be back next year. He is one of the Democrat, walking dead. The ObamaCare monster will be his parting gift to America. A gift that keeps taking.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 26, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Lot of angry obama democrats here.

Why so angry? Because health care is dead in the water and obama's flagship program has failed out of the gate.

Pro tip: Look for obama to be a one term president.

Posted by: Chris01USA | February 26, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

A silly post by a hack. Nothing new here, move along.

Posted by: bitterpill8 | February 26, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gerson, the Dems are on the right side of the political momentum. It's you and your bozo buddies that are on the wrong side. Unfortunately, Obama isn't tough or mean enough to get it done. Lyndon Johnson would have had no problem.

Posted by: jkarlinsky | February 26, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what program you were watching. Not hard to read that you agree with the party of "NO".....but then, you have your medical insurance.

Posted by: hald | February 26, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The day that I turned away forever from the Republican Party (after having supported them for decades) was when I had to watch George on TV, looking me in the eye, and lying to me. The gall of him to think that I was so stupid as to believe what he was saying.

I experienced the same reaction yesterday as I watched the Republicans make such a mockery of themselves at the Health Care Summit.

What do these people think? That we will believe anything they say when we have had months and months of information from which we are able to make our own judgment.

And so my Grand Old Party is now composed of extremists who remind me a bit of unruly youngsters, what with their picketing and shouting and making our country look like we are possessed by hoodlums. And then on the other extreme, the elected officials (yes, elected) who get on TV and spout off their made-up tales.

Hey, so-called “Republicans,” we were waiting to hear your sound, sensible, and serious messages!!! Instead, it was the same old trash that we have been hearing for months. Why did you let us down???

Posted by: Formerrepublican | February 26, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It seems Gerson fails to understand a few critical points. Tens of millions of Americans have no health care and the number is rising, not falling. Health care costs are increasing not decreasing or remaining unchanged. Senators and Representatives have great public health care and feel they deserve it while millions of Americans go without because "we can't afford it".

If we can't afford it for everyday Americans, we can't afford to be paying for it for overpaid Senators and Representatives in Congress. If it is too expensive, let's cut their coverage out of the budget as a way to begin to balance the budget. So long as they feel private health care is the answer for America, let them go get their private health care coverage. After a few of those wheezened old guys finds out they have "pre-existing conditions" and won't be covered maybe they will have a little more interest in trying to fix the problem instead of delay, delay, delay.

Posted by: PJW5552 | February 26, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Now I wish I had been able to watch the summit live.

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | February 26, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Ambush? Grow up. Stop writing your drival, Gerson. You just embarrass yourself.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 26, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The price to be paid by the democrates for their behavior at the summit and passing attachments to the patriot extension during the meeting will be a "fatal error". The current generation of old and young will feel toward them the way the depression generation felt about the republicans. The only thing they will hear is being voted out of office for ever and then they don't have to listen to us anymore!

Posted by: Michael97 | February 26, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama was petulant and boorish. Disgraceful behavior for a President of the United States. Walking to the summit (aka lecture) he stated he was going to listen, which turned out to be another of his all too predictable lies. He rudely cut off every Republican who had a cogent, fact based argument while letting Dems nonsensically prattle on and on about how they got a sad letter from "someone". The election of Obama has turned out to be a tragic civics lesson for every "hope and change" pie-in-the-sky idealist who voted for him.

Posted by: VA_Skylark | February 26, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin tweet? Who is the composer of a tweet (140 characters) that could compete with minutes of spoken exposition. How casual your aside; adding another grain of forgone conclusion reinforcement of the popular press bias against Gov. Palin. "Ranting" : "Palin" such a natural word association eh Gerson.

Posted by: jwcarnal | February 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

What about the Bush tax cuts that cost $1.8 trillon, way more then the price of health care. That was passed with reconciliation. It's ok to use reconciliation to line the pockets of the rich but help the rest of us. BS

Posted by: hamdelicious | February 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

As a life long Dem, I have to say that for the most part the Republicans made a lot more sense, while Obama kept to his tired script. Want to have real health care reform?- then start with TORT reform, and stop saying Doctors support Obamacare- they don't! And get the administrative pygmies/managed care trolls out of health care- they are just there to scalp your premium $'s and deny you needed health care and line the pockets of trial lawyers and let the ins co CEO's buy a bigger pleasure yacht! Please tell me how electronic records "improve" anything...more profits for some software company somewhere...is that part of the "stimulus package"?

Posted by: lsf07 | February 26, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Republican scum deserve a real ambush -- something along the lines of Pearl Harbor but with the "third wave" to finish the job.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 26, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Intelligent political dialog in the USA is dead.

Posted by: rbe1 | February 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

McCain started his time with personal attacks on the president ("unsavory backroom deals", chastizing him for not putting all the talks on C-Span) and Obama is just supposed to sit back and take it? All year long he has been accused of being a non-citizen, a terrorist, a Muslim, a fascist, a Marxist, a communist and a socialist and has not responded. This summit was ideally to be about coming to a compromise on HC, not about making Obama look bad. The president is exceedingly bright and he knows it. I am sure there are some Republicans who can match him wit for wit, but they never seem to come out and play.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 26, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"transparently political and fundamentally unserious" describes only your own Nazi
party, gerson. you who will stop at nothing to maintain a huge underclass and continuously increase huge profits for the exploitive piga of the oil and military industries can do nothing other than repeat in code ("Obabma is so professorial and condescending") the whine that this Black Man is too uppity for your racist taste. for their sake, gerson, I hope your children are out of the country when the guillotine blade removes that lump of cancerous fat from your neck. au revoir, citoyen!

Posted by: michaelleger1 | February 26, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I saw a bunch of Democrats making great points on one side and a bunch of dimwitted fools carrying around stacks of papers on the other.

P.S. Say hello to your sister Gina for me.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah
____________________

WEre we listening to the same summit???

The only thing I recall hearing from Democrats was that George Miller has two fake hips and a kidney stone, and Louise Slaughter has a constituent who is wearing her dead sister's false teeth.

Memorable, yes....but hardly substantive.

Posted by: boosterprez | February 26, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Gerson. You brought the obots out of the walls like cockroaches. Nicely done.

Posted by: creeper92 | February 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"McCain started his time with personal attacks on the president ("unsavory backroom deals", chastizing him for not putting all the talks on C-Span) and Obama is just supposed to sit back and take it?"

_______________

No, he shouldn't have to just sit back and take it. He should act like a grown-up and say, "You're right, Sen McCain, and I'm working to try and resolve that today". Instead he acted like a child.

I also didn't appreciate that, while all participants afforded the president due respect and called him Mr. President, he did not reciprocate respect and call everyone by their more professional titles of "Senator" or "Rep."...heck, even referring to them as Mr. or Mrs. would have been better than his continual use of first names....that was tacky...

Posted by: boosterprez | February 26, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

This summit was a strategic error by the Democrats.

During this meeting it was plainly obvious that the Republicans really DO care about heath care reform.

This blows away the Democrat's assertion that Republicans don't care and revealed the truth: Republicans have some better ideas at acheiving this that the Democrats REFUSE to acknowledge.

From now on the Democrats will no longer be able push with a straight face their "Party of No" accusation to the independent voters.

I wonder if the Post's reporters were paying enough attention to notice this?


Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 25, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------------
PLEASE!! Are you serious? If they cared so much about health care, why didn't they reforme it when they had controld of ALL 3 branches of Government? You guy really need to cut it out!! Seriously!! You cannot defend the indefensable!!

Posted by: Angryman | February 26, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Gerson=stupid conservative.
Please spew your lies elsewhere.

Posted by: strictly_liberal | February 26, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson this article is just so much political hackery and BS.

"On the wrong side of political momentum, they (Democrats) needed a breakthrough of some sort."

What glue are you sniffing? US citizens want health care reform. Most people want some form of single payer plan that does not serve to enrich the insurance companies and does serve to make health care more accessible.

"Some are impressed by the president’s informed, academic manner. Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar."

I take it you preferred to have an inarticulate moron in charge.

"Republicans accomplished two purposes. They made sophisticated arguments respectfully, in contrast to the tone of a radio rant or a tweet by Sarah Palin. And Republicans made clear that they have alternative health-reform ideas, undermining the accusation that they are merely the “party of no.”

Republicans "reform" ideas are just more of the same, to heck with poor people and let's enrich the corporations some more.

Mr. Gerson you are a partisan hack with no credibility.

Posted by: greeenmtns | February 26, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to say that the Democrat's bill will insure 30 million as opposed to the Republican's 3 million when the Democrats bill MANDATES people get insurance. Why should a young healthy individual have to buy health insurance if they don't want to? Furthermore, how are we going to PAY for the Democrat's bill. The republicans have offered solutions to make healthcare more affordable, WITHOUT raising taxes. The Dems cannot claim this. They will raise taxes on job creators, in the middle of a recession, and mandate people to get insurance. Now republicans are obstructionists because Dems sprinkled some republican ideas in the bill. Give me a break.

---------------------------------------
Once again I ask, where were all of these Republican bright ideas when they had control of ALL THREE BRANCHES of Government? If there plan was so great, why didn't we have Heath Care reform under the Bush Admin!

Posted by: Angryman | February 26, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Ambush? Health care reform has been President Obama's number one policy goal since before he was sworn in. If the Republican's felt it was an ambush to showcase their "great" ideas, it was because they have been refusing to participate and never did their homework. they very well could have come and said, "This is our plan and these are our ideas," in a coherent and mature way. But they didn't. They don't want reform and all they cared about was scoring points.

Posted by: wdague | February 26, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting to read the various evaluations of the Health Care Discussions. Interpretation seems to depend on prior views and biases. It seems highly unlikely that anyone's views were changed by this event. Certainly Mr. Gerson's view is telegraphed in his column title "The Democrat's health-care ambush failed."
Whether he has any valid point to make or not, his prejudgment of the event makes that point irrelevant.
Thank you for adding gas to the DC hot air machine.

Posted by: MrsT5 | February 26, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what is sadder about WAPO - this phone it in b.s blather by Bushie shill Gerson (want to wait until it is over before you phone it in?) or the idiot base that slobbers over his partisan drivel. This is all WAPO has become, a warehouse for wingnuts to write unchallenged by reality.

Posted by: LABC | February 26, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

mikey, what color is the moon on the planet you live on? Let me offer one example: If you think you're not getting enough time in a debate where you can't fall back on Senate or House rules, you don't waste time whining about not getting enough time. You quickly assess what the problem was. (In this case, it was the Democrats are simply capable of saying more than their talking points.) And then, you move on, making your points as strongly and as succinctly as you can. But Mitch McConnell, being a Republican, couldn't do that. He had to whine to the President of the United States. What he was saying, and indeed the Republican message all day, was "We don't care what you're saying. We won't won't won't." And they sounded like a bunch of spoiled brats.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

O.k. Gerson, you gave us your spin, interpretation of the summit now let's look at reality. The summit was called because the republicans, and their supporters like you had been loud mouthing how bad this reform is. You all also expressed that it was partisan and were not given an opportunity to put your ideas forward. BS!

The republican MINORITY was given a chance to participate but none of their proposals met the criteria the President wanted in a health care reform bill. Only insuring 3 million more people when over 30 million are without insurance was a non-starter. Not addressing denial due to pre-existing conditions, a major part of health care reform, was a non-starter. Let's face it Mr. Gerson, you and your republican elected officials were not serious and offered childish alternatives to the health care bill.

And lets be real here, Senator DeMint of South Carolina called health care reform the President's "waterloo". They NEVER were serious about supporting this bill because it would give the President and his party too much momentum. The republican lead congress failed to get anything done on this issue and are about to be put to shame by a democrat lead congress. It is all grandstanding at its best and the President decided to play the game a little better than YOU Mr. Gerson and your republican elected officials. This is not the republican party of Reagan, no where near it.

Posted by: ajackson3 | February 26, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Gerson - How many times did your former boss, George W. Bush ever engage in an open public debate with Congress? - to my recollection he never did - he barely spoke to the media at all.

Something can only be an "ambush" if it involves some element of surprise or deceit. Inviting an opposing group to discuss an issue in public and then discussing that very issue isn't an ambush in anyway shape or form.

Posted by: scmtneer | February 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If you listen closely to the exchanges at the summit, there was a group of adults having an interesting and reasoned discussion about a very important topic. Yes, there are different points of view. But the discussion is interesting.
The reporting, however, as evidenced by this article, reduces everything to political posturing.

Posted by: NewThoughts | February 26, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

At some point the Washington Post must think seriously about protecting its integrity. The Post can become like some bulletin board in a college student union where any crazy organization can post any off-the-wall manifesto it wants. Or the Post can begin enforcing some standards among its writers and insist that those who belong to the Washington Post Writers Group comment honestly and seriously about public affairs or not at all.

Michael Gerson is not a serious commentator. He is using this paper for partisan manipulation and propaganda.

Take for example Gerson's depiction of the reconciliation process and what it means: "In passing a Democrat-only bill, Democratic leaders have revealed their outreach to be a pose, a sham. The purpose of reconciliation is to dramatically reduce the influence of Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate negotiating process."

Nowhere does Gerson use the word filibuster, or obstruction. Reconciliation, he says, is designed to "dramatically reduce the influence" of Republicans. Sounds pretty sneaky. But what he should have said is reconciliation is being used to "get around the Republican Party's stonewall obstruction of every important matter that Democrats propose."

Gerson knows perfectly well that so long as Republicans hold tight to the filbuster on every vote and keep up a solid front, then any bill that gets through Congress with both Republican and Democratic votes will by definition be a far right Republican bill.

That has been the condition which Republicans have set for President Obama since the day he took office: Govern as a right wing Republican, or not at all.

Gerson knows perfectly well this to be the case. He should be fired for trying to mislead his readers otherwise.

Posted by: TedFrier | February 26, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Same typical Gerson garbage. He eschews "condescension" (throwing in "professorial" for some anti-knowledge red meat to the right) by the President, but anytime you read his columns, you get the distinct sense that there's never been a day in his life he didn't think he was the smartest kid in the room. Guess what, if you were so smart, you'd still have a job in a Republican administration.

Posted by: crikey | February 26, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson:

It is truly delightful to read the anguished blogs from liberals reacting to your thoughtful article on the hc summit. Obama and company had clearly planned this event as a precursor to the real ambush, which is the "nuclear" option. It is clear the liberals don't care about the American public. They simply want more government control.

Bill H.

Posted by: bhansen | February 26, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Man, working for the White House under Bush must have been awesome. Screw up the country and blame it on the the next guy, all while collecting checks from the Washington Post. This no-accountability-ever thing for folks in Washington really is cool.

Posted by: jjhare | February 26, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It was an above board invite from the POTUS.

Don't involve Obama with the term ambush. That is how the GOP termed the session.

Posted by: fresno500 | February 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Gerson - while you are in Wonderland with Alice, say hi to the easter bunny and the tooth-fairy. They, too, think the GOP came out ahead yesterday. In fact, even Santa thinks the GOP kicked rear-end.

All the wildernews critters have also committed to the GOP. They seem to ask better questions than tea-partiers.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | February 26, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Gerson: An ambush would be Obama inviting the GOPers to a healthcare summit, then announcing, "Welcome to our jobs summit."

You're a moron.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 26, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Most of these posts are from very GREEDY people who think they can get something for nothing!!! This country is going BROKE and these progressives think they can add trillions of dollars to the deficit and stay in business. That is because they are a bunch of dimwits who are trying to pay off their big donors - namely the unions. They do not care about YOU!!! The dems and BO care only about THEMSELVES. Just like you, they are greedy. If we exist long enough in this country for history, it will show Bush to be a Saint beside the radical progressive (or worse) Obama. His arrogance is unbelievable. This WAS an AMBUSH because the dems had no intention of having a bipartisan bill. Watch their numbers fall in 2010.

Posted by: annnort | February 26, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama, "let's hold a summit and let the republicans talk for 25% of the time and we'll talk for 75%. We'll get in all of our talking points and challenge them when they use theirs. We'll counter their points and not let them counter ours. If they bring a copy of the bill that is the centerpiece of the debate, I'll call it a prop and dismiss them as playing games. That'll work with our lapdog media."

Obama continues, "and here's the best part. I'll send my talking points to the media and journalists (ha, ha) like Dione, will write garbage articles to back us. Our sheep will go Bah, bah, bah..."

Obama continues, "these journalists know nothing about fiscal responsibility and will just point to Bush's poor fiscal record as an excuse for me to bankrupt the country." Bah, bah, bah...

Posted by: Tostitos | February 26, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

am·bush
   /ˈæmbʊʃ/ Show Spelled[am-boosh]
–nounAlso, am·bush·ment.
1.
an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise: The highwaymen waited in ambush near the road.
2.
an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position.
3.
the concealed position itself: They fired from ambush.
4.
those who attack suddenly and unexpectedly from a concealed position.

----------------------

So the Republicans were invited to an ambush?

Posted by: mingkeeper | February 26, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

What kind of health insurance do you have, Gerson? How much does it cost you or your employer? You talk about this fundamental policy issue as if it were a childish game. People like you--let's put responsibility where it belongs--are absolutely sending the US of A down the tubes as a society and as a has-been economic power. It's over and you are one of the many people responsible for wrecking our government and economy.

Posted by: walden1 | February 26, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Take a little peek at a selection of the comments coming from the liberals on this blog:

burtonpaul at Feb 25, 2010 5:28 PM: "Gerson, you are a despicable shill."
Fei_Hu at Feb 25, 2010 5:38 PM: "GERSON you fool"
A-Voter at Feb 25, 2010 5:50 PM: "You are a complete moron Gerson. A sad moron at that. What an idiot."
koolkat_1960 at Feb 26, 2010 11:30 AM: "Republican scum deserve a real ambush -- something along the lines of Pearl Harbor but with the "third wave" to finish the job."
JBGJRESQ at Feb 25, 2010 10:58 PM: "Gerson, you are a partisan Butt Head."
lcarter0311 at Feb 25, 2010 11:21 PM: "Gerson is such a NERD and a losing one at that"
strictly_liberal at Feb 26, 2010 11:48 AM: "Gerson=stupid conservative."
cisconwa at Feb 26, 2010 1:04 AM: "What does one expect from Gerson, this washed up self-impotent--yes impotent, neocon twit"
WillSeattle at Feb 25, 2010 5:47 PM: "Gerson, you traitorous hack"
Mark35 at Feb 25, 2010 9:50 PM: "Michael Gerson, you are an a$&."
John1263 at Feb 25, 2010 8:48 PM: "What an idiot."

Says quite a lot about the mentality and the psychological disposition of many on the left. They seem so sad, so bitter, and so little.

In this last year they have lost so much, including their ability to critically think and constructively engage in discourse.

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | February 26, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

He declares victory in the middle of the battle. Gerson is applying the same techniques he employed for the Bush White House in Iraq to health care. The debate is only halfway done and Gerson already has his column written.

BS launched! Mission accomplished!

Why don't you give us a nice summary of the actual projected results of doing nothing but incorporating the GOP talking points Gerson, so we can see what an empty bag of BS the GOP "plan" really is?

Posted by: st50taw | February 26, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse


Gerson is to be commended for his analysis. Obama sought to put the Republicans in a bad light and gain points in the polls, but it didn't happen.
He also pointed out Obama's continuing deviousness, i.e. delaying a tax increase on the high-cost health plan until 2018. The man is simply not trustworthy.
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

How about this comment:

Posted by: BooJa | February 26, 2010 1:31 AM: "Thank God Barack Obama is our president. No one in America could do a better job than he does. Members of the media, it is time that you start expressing the truth about President Obama: he really does want to work with the Republicans."

I initially thought this had to have been written with their tongue in their cheek, but now i am wondering. If Obama had wanted to work with the Republicans, he has had over a year to do so. He repeatedly rejects their offers only to ask them again. Over and over. He has only one answer he gives them: No, thanks.

And liberals call the Republicans the Party of No??? The difference now is the country is seeing through the smoke being blown by the Mainstream Media, smoke that once protected Peoples Commissar Obama, but not any longer.

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | February 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar."

Translation: I hate that this black guy is smarter than men and every other white man that I know.

Posted by: NMP1 | February 26, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, folks, it's Friday, and the Moon is once again approaching full phase, which of course can only mean one thing:

Michael Gerson has emerged as his better-known ideological werewolf self, writing yet another foam-at-the-moth column that twistedly and cynically portrays a bland attempt at bipartisan outreach into what only a wild-eyed right-wing lunatic would see: an "ambush".

Beyond impugning Mr. Obama's motives, the word "ambush" implies an act of surprise, and that all the alleged Republican victims of this "ambush" were somehow forced to attend, against their will. If Mr. Gerson's characterization is correct, and any of the Republicans who attended yesterday seriously believed they were being "ambushed", then why they would willing participate?

It makes no sense, but on Fridays when the Moon is almost full, little Gerson writes does.

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | February 26, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse


walden1 said:
"Let's put responsibility where it belongs"

A good start would be Obama becoming responsible for what he promises, but I doubt that will ever happen.
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 26, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It wasn’t supposed to be “an ambush.” Republicans wanted CSPAN coverage and that is what they got.

Question: why are republicans against minimum standards in health insurance? Who are they protecting?
Why won’t republicans address pre-existing conditions? Who are they protecting.

The truth is: Republicans have ZERO credibility on this topic. They did NOTHING with it when they were in power.

Posted by: Nick35 | February 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


bryanmcoleman said re the liberals:
"In this last year they have lost so much, including their ability to critically think and constructively engage in discourse."

They bet on a losing horse, and are poor losers.
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 26, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Hay Gerson, dont you feel like a dope praising the gop performance? Start over, small steps, and tort reform. Your pals would stonewall legislation that would be great for the USA to appease the we want our country back crowd. Who do you think they want their country back from? Hay Gerson, you got good health insurance? Do you also want your country back?

Posted by: jr125 | February 26, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

By the way, FOXNEWS links to this article so its sheep can invade the forum.

Why are the republicans against minimum standards in health-insurance. We have minimum standards for our food?

Posted by: Nick35 | February 26, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with the summit yesterday was the transparency of the Republicans. For just a moment please disregard whether you are pro reform or anti-reform. The overwhelming theme of the Republican side yesterday was to scrap the plan and start over piece by piece. Problem with that rhetoric is what the true translation of that is. Translation to that rhetoric is kill the bill (start over) and then stall until November (piece by piece) and hope that you win more seats. The Democrats saw right through this instantly as the their true objective wasn't exactly hard to figure out. Unfortunately, for Americans this garbage means political gridlock. It is exactly this type of political game that produces a lack of results in Washington. I myself am so sick and tired of politicians and cronies on the far left and far right delighting in their ability to thwart the agendas of the other side. The end result is gridlock and we suffer. As everyone in attendance agreed with yesterday (with the exception of Cantor) we must do something about individuals with pre-existing conditions who are denied health care either overtly (through denial of coverage) or covertly (through price gouging). We also must do something about the practice of capping coverage to the sick. The only thing these people are guilty of is getting sick. It's simply immoral how the health insurance companies treat these people and it can't continue.

Posted by: blackandred777 | February 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Gerson. You brought the obots out of the walls like cockroaches. Nicely done.

Posted by: creeper92 | February 26, 2010 11:41 AM

Too funny...and too true. May I pronounce that most of you posting here have illegitimate arguments. However, perhaps there are points of common ground on which we can agree:

1. Absolutely no minds were changed yesterday.

2. How you saw the summit depends on where you stand on health care (deficits, entitlements, taxes, private sector job creation, etc.)

3. Anecdotes are no substitute for facts nor policy arguments, no matter how compelling your dead sister's false teeth may be.

4. Compromise is much less likely when philosophical differences are large and the stakes are high. There'll be no holding hands across the aisle and singing Kumbaya on health care.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | February 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gerson,

After the summit, Mr. Obama should have claimed "Mission Accomplished!" He certainly proved his point that the republicans are irrelevant.

Posted by: ginabw | February 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when academia meets the real world - they only run on emotion so their entire argument is based upon it and not on facts. The sad part here is that the bill's proponents have so few real facts to sustain their cause they thought they could get away with lying about it all, as the media would be compliant enough to not "out" them for stretching it on one hand, and just lying about it altogether on the other. Mr. Obama's car insurance story was either phony or he is ignorant of how insurance law works (either way, he loses). Mr. Harkin failed to disclose his farmer story came from the brother of a close aid (oops, how did that happen?). I'd wager that if a reporter (a real reporter - not WAP propagandist) dug into all those claims, they would likely prove to be as false as the teeth the woman supposedly dug up to use. Teeth are very personal. Unlike glasses, one size doesn't fit all so I have my concerns...

One thing is for sure; it will be snowy day in hell before we see Mr. Obama try to debate economics and mathematics with Mr. Ryan or Mr. Cantor again. Oh wait, come to think of it, it is already snowing in hell. Maybe Mr. Obama will skip the idea of debating his global warming charade, but Mr. Obama is nothing if not indulgent when it comes to his own hubris. Like Jimmy Carter, Mr. Obama is proving to be the gift that just keeps on giving to the Republican cause. Thank goodness America is getting to see these people for who they really are.

Posted by: rainmaker1145 | February 26, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

TYPICAL CONSERVATIVE. No facts, just shrill complaints with no reality.

Posted by: linda_521 | February 26, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


"Wow, Gerson. You brought the obots out of the walls like cockroaches."

Like Obama, they don't like it when they don't get their way. hehe
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 26, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Ger.

The people, the voters- they know what lies in their best interest and what lies in lobbies's best interest.

There will a lobby crowd who will always saye "Aye, aye" to what you type.

The President is the President and carried himself as the President is expected to carry and that is that.

We don't want big business condescension at what the people's real needs are.

Barack, as usual, you hit the nail on the head.

Excellent, work.

I also liked the poke. Also, neatly done. The old oligarch was forced to adjust his chronometer to Feb 25th 2010. Tired old anachronical..

Posted by: mdsubramonia | February 26, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans accomplished two purposes. They made sophisticated arguments respectfully, in contrast to the tone of a radio rant or a tweet by Sarah Palin. And Republicans made clear that they have alternative health-reform ideas, undermining the accusation that they are merely the “party of no.”

Gerson did not try, and frankly cannot, name the ideas they brought, which were, principally, "no big bill should pass," and "not this thing," meaning, "party of no." What they did not do, was "here's a great new way to cut costs or make insurance fair on a cheaper basis than your plan Mr. President." As for shrill, did Gerson miss the McCain rant about the Frank Luntz phrases "Cornhusker Kickback" and "Louisiana Purchase". And the one about how "the American people have rejected..." which sort of forgets that the poll questions asking about each part of this bill get big positive responses.

Finally, tell me, how does one show up prepared for a trap? Isn't the nature of a trap that it be unexpected?

In sum, the R's showed they want to block this bill, not that they want to solve a national problem a different way.

Posted by: dcnyhunter | February 26, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I would agree with Gerson's comments.
Naturally, liberals will not see this view as it is in opposition to their view. Proof will be the reaction of the moderate democrats and the voting to be held in November. A hard lesson for this president to swallow!

Posted by: SeniorVet | February 26, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what health summit you were watching, Gerson. The summit I watced featured Republicans looking like silly school children.

Posted by: Rocketman4 | February 26, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

After reading the rest of the comments, I can only say these screaming liberal greedy people writing these posts should get what they deserve. Obamacare is simply a Trojan Horse for this administration to get something for the unions and get alot of taxes from the rest of us. The other healthcare changes do not start until 2014. Then, if you are young and think you do not need obamacare, you will pay a fine or go to jail. The IRS will oversee this, no less! You all are begging for something that will hurt more than help. Your best bet is to get a job instead of posting all day. Your hope should be that BO will force the dems to write a jobs bill that actually creates jobs instead of growing government which is about to go backrupt.

Now, you greedy people need to study up on obamacare as well as his other issues.

Posted by: annnort | February 26, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Just more hot-air speak from a useless talking head.. As Gerson and his panty-waste pals stumble off into the night to try to find other talking points to mumble tomorrow and for the weeks to follow..

As one of your colleagues from your Rupe-Rag headlined today..."Obama to GOP: It's over"

SUCK ROCKS !!!

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | February 26, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

As a Summit, this was disingenuous. One party came with the idea that there would be no starting over; the other party came with the idea that they should start over. If the discussions were real and genuine, they would have met somewhere in-between. Instead, the leader, who reminded the gathering that he is the President, summed up by stating that if the other side did not go along with his idea of health care reform, the one side would act by unspecified means--which obviously means the "nuclear option".

Posted by: CalP | February 26, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

billwduh, isn't there a reebo pie-eatin' contest for you to attend? By the time you git back from it, the health bill will be passed - without the GOP. Ah guess they got their way after all...yuck, yuck, yuck...

Posted by: LABC | February 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

All you republicans whining about not being invited and listened to on Healthcare need to stop acting like a bunch of spoiled children. Time and time again, whenever the President and or the Democrats were willing to include their ideas in any type of bill or reform they would then vote NO and/or FLIP their position and stand against it. This summit was no political trap and you Mr. Greson should be blogging with the Washington Times or Fox News with this kind of nonsense. During the early years of the Bush administration, the republican controlled congressed shoved legislation after legislation down the throats of their counterparts without any input from Democrats. With the Dems now talking about reconciliation, the repubs are crying wolf when in fact they have always been the wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing.

Posted by: Jmireles | February 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: unpluggedboodah

"I saw a bunch of Democrats making great points on one side and a bunch of dimwitted fools carrying around stacks of papers on the other".

_______________________________________

That's because you saw exactly what you WANTED to see. Hope you, too, have a young child that's going to pay for this crap for the the rest of his/her life.

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | February 26, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Rocketman4:

I don't know what health summit you were watching, Gerson. The summit I watced featured Republicans looking like silly school children.
_______________________________________

Don't know what you watched. But did you get a load of YOUR Senate and House leaders? Talk about two of the most unprofessional and unprepared legislators you'll ever see...

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | February 26, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually it seems to me as if it succeeded nicely, if by "ambush" you mean forcing the Republicans to show their true face to the American people. The strong inflection on all three network newscasts last night was that the Republicans are far more protective of health insurance company profits than of the well-being of the American people, and that they have no workable ideas on how to solve the crisis we all face in health care costs.

Furthermore, the childish and petulant recalcitrance of the Republicans, which they displayed repeatedly in their orchestrated remarks, has now pushed many Democrats toward the realization that the Republicans have no intention of bargaining in good faith and that it is their goal to have any effort at reforming health care fail. I believe we now have moved significantly toward a consensus that reconciliation, and the majority rule that it represents, is the way to go.

And that's good.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 26, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

First off, you're a total party hack with absolutely no credibility. This is a less than one page article and you citing a grand total of 3 very well known Senators, and you can't even get their party affiliation right? Robert Byrd is a Democrat, and has been since he was elected in 1959. You're just a few decades behind.

More to this point, is using reconciliation anymore damaging to the powers of the minority than all of the Bush recess appointments or the Republican controlled Senate's threat to change the rules in order to prevent the filibuster of judicial nominees?

Fact check your article before submitting, and be honest in your reporting. You're allowed to have your opinion, and as all opinions are, it will naturally be biased, but you could have written this piece of trash before ever even seeing the summit.

Posted by: apissedant | February 26, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson-There is one very telling statement in your piece.
"Some are impressed by the president’s informed, academic manner. Others (myself included) find an annoying condescension in Obama’s never-ending seminar"
It has often been the tactic of the less secure and less academically inclined to make the point of condescension. This exposes your inadequacies, not the President's.

Posted by: alyd69 | February 26, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

R E C O N C I L I A T I O N

FIFTY-ONE AND DONE

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 26, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I've decided that Obama is the poster child for the ugly flaw at the core of the left wing of American politics--they really do think they're smarter and more virtuous than the rest of us and that that entitles them to shout us down, inhibit debate and to generally dictate to us.

Some of the dumbest clucks I know are actually very smart people who lack common sense and/or humility. I'm pretty sure that this health care fiasco is a case in point.

Posted by: LHS2 | February 26, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Clearly those calling the Repubs silly school children, the repubs as irrelevent, as having zero credibility, "transparently political and fundamentally unserious", and generally dismissing anythingother than the Holy One's plan came to the show and NEVER intented to open their ears. All that came out of Obama was NO that is not a good idea to anything the Repubs put forth. Bottom line is he showed America exactly who he is. A man child.....this is my plan take it or leave it. And yes there are TONS of backroom deals that are uncontitutional and would be thrown out in court in a heart beat. All those living in places OTHER than Neb, LA or CT.....how do you feel about paying for their medcare/Medicaid because they got exemptions for years to come. Also, this thing is 2400 pages long and NOT ONE WORD on Tort reform. NOT ONE WORD on portability. NOT ONE WORD on being able to purchase insurance across state lines which would bring down the price through competetion. For all you looney lefties that think Obama carried the day.....WRONG. He might get it passed in the Senate on a 51 vote deal but Queen Nancy doesn't have the votes in the House. She barely carried it before. With Durbin being put in the ground she has less. The abortion spending will drive conservative Dems away in droves. This is an election year for them and they know this will sink them.

Posted by: AdaminVA1 | February 26, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The "set up" was actually the repubs warning that Obama was setting them up. There was no set up. No ambush. Never was.

But to claim that there was a set up planned, makes the repubs look victorious. Oh brother, you are really stretching for a victory now.

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | February 26, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hardly a failure. It showed the republicans for what they really are which is a bunch of do-nothing, know-nothing obstructionists. Obama handled them masterfully. They brought nothing to the table. Obama could let them write the entire bill and they still wouldn't vote for it.

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 26, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the democrats are going to commit political suicide and double-down on this bad heath-care bill. Since I am not a liberal I actually hope they do it, as it would almost certainly make the November elections fun to watch. Obama says "drink the koolaid", and the dems fall in line. Throw in unemployment around 10% and gas prices above 3 dollars a gallon - and you got a potential senate/house realignment in November...and a one term president.

Posted by: deacon777 | February 26, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is a sore loser

Posted by: gipper01 | February 26, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Were is the money coming from for all the gov spending? My question is if an insurance company has to take care of a cancer patient, it can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Where does the money come from? It would be great if everyone could get healthcare but we cannot afford it.

I have 2 ways we can make money to fund health care. 1. Start drilling for gas and oil wherever we can, all the profits go towards funding heathcare for everyone. 2. Start an Obama 24 hour cable channel. He is on TV everyday anyway. We can use all the Ad proceeds to fund heathcare...

Posted by: gsettle | February 26, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The NOGOP politicos were not there to advance the measure but to scuttle it! Start over my butt. Sooner than later they will have to accept the fact our President is a Gentleman of Color and a helluva lot sharper then the opposition. btw: teabaggers are a hernia on the body politic and are small enough to be 'drowned in the bath tub'.

Posted by: yamamah | February 26, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!!

The YAWNING credibility gap pointed out by plenty of other posters concerning the timing of Gerson's post being before the event was even over says it all.

Which begs the question, why would the WaPo allow such contrived drool to appear on it's servers, and in it's hard copy print under their name, when it is far, far below credible with the timing issue alone.

Never mind the ridiculous position he's taken on a subject that carries so much weight for the vast majority of Americans. (He is, after all entitled to his opinion.)

He ISN'T, however entitled to draw his conclusions in a public forum based on not even covering the event he's drawing his opinions on.... ( It's less than honest )

Are we to take it that the WaPo allows this sort of thing? (And does the WaPo think this doesn't hurt THEIR credibility?)

Posted by: BellsBlu2 | February 26, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry that president Obama is over your head. I bet you liked it better when Bush was president. At least you could count on him to not talk too intelligently to you.

Posted by: dharris1234 | February 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Some people just refuse to see the light. This is DEAD. The American people have spoken and there just isn't the votes for this. The Senate Bill is poision in the House. Queen nancy does NOT have the votes to pass it. And yes this was an ambush. Obama clearly wanted to show the repubs as being idealess but they came with ideas....ideas that Obama said NO to. he NEVER intended to listen. The fact that they talked more than twice what the repubs did and didn't sway anyone says that they are dead in the water on their plan. Nov 2010 BOTH houses change. Jan 2011 articles of impeachment will be drawn.

Posted by: AdaminVA1 | February 26, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"AMBUSH FAILS" what an idiotic title. the GOP has been shedding crocodile tears for "bipartisanship" and "transparency" for a year now. so when the President gives them what they've been asking for they call it an ambush.

Posted by: squier13 | February 26, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the great reporting, Mr. Gerson. You're driving the liberals crazy, and I love it! You're about the only WP writer who tells the truth. Of course, you get abused on this site, because the Democrats don't want to believe anything bad about either their party or the Obama administration. They may call us Republicans the "Party of No" but they're the "Party of Nothing."

Posted by: georges2 | February 26, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

How is it an ambush when you've let your ambushees in on it three weeks in advance??

Posted by: safmmail | February 26, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

That whole bill, 2400 pages of it was done in the dark. NO TRANSPARENCY at all. WHY? Because if the American people had seen the process there would be a revolt and rightly so. For all you morons out there that want this thing I just have one question. Why in the world do you believe that the government doing this will make things better? cheaper? Show me one program where the government actually provides services that are cheap and efficient. You can't. So why in the world do you think it would chang with this program. Medicais is broke. Medicare is broke. Social Security is broke. VA hospitals broke. Man that has got to be some mighty fine tasting kool aid.

Posted by: AdaminVA1 | February 26, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

As usual a majority of Wash Post readers/Obama koolaid drinkers on the attack. So typical. Getting pretty old - just ask the folks in VA, NJ and MASS. The fatal flaw for all of you whiners is arrogance and underestimating the intelligence of the American people. I am proud of any elected official who says no to bad ideas. Saying the Reps have no ideas is a freakin' joke. Partisan politics is not the minority accepting the majorities position. Even my infant children know that! Ok - go ahead and attack me now......

Posted by: fink09 | February 26, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, we couldn't have been watching the same show, because what I saw was a bunch of whining, prop-carrying, GOP fakers doing what they do best, obstructing the passage of legislation that America needs to survive for their own selfish partisan reasons. It was so obvious that they are the villains in this story, and that the President had to remind them that it wasn't time for grandstanding and politics as usual, it was time to act FOR THE PEOPLE.

The GOP doesn't get it, and never will. It's time to kick them to the curb, every last one of 'em.

Posted by: borntorun45 | February 26, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"The purpose of reconciliation is to dramatically reduce the influence of Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate negotiating process. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) reminded the president, this legislative maneuver has not been used to pass major social legislation. As Sen. Robert Byrd (R-W.V.) has pointed out, its use in this case would permanently diminish the rights of the Senate minority"

Guest what he "R within the "COBRA" Act of 1985 stands for. You guestes it: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation

Posted by: SassyStew | February 26, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we were watching the same show, all right, borntorun 45, but you liberals simply will not admit that you're totally out of step with the American people!

Posted by: georges2 | February 26, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Who said this was going to be an ambush???

Bozo

Thanks.

Posted by: AnotherVoter | February 26, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

give it up gerson. Your headline says it all. You paranoid rightard could not accept that the President of the United States was being honest, because given the string of republicon presidents going back to nixon only one has been even close....

There was no ambush. It was as advertised. And the idea that lamar alexsalamander would demand promises of killing the bill at the very outset of the meeting was a disgrace, although President Obama handled that gross insult well and moved on to the substance. Prblem was that republicons did not bring much substance. their plan in a nutshell is trust insurance companies if we let them sell insurance across state lines. Given the 70 years track record not much reason to think that is a good idea or would produce anything like the objectives.

So - no anmbush and pretending there was going to be one is as dishonest as everything we get from bush speech writer gerson. What do expect from one of the people who put together the marketing pitch for Iraqnam?

Posted by: John1263 | February 26, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

You idiotic moron,

Have you ever taken in anything with an open mind. Your head is filled with cow manure, what the hell were you thinking?

Posted by: hemisphere | February 26, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The bill was posted on the internet. How is that not transparency? Do you wnat a personal hand written copy delivered to your door? Just because geln beck or sean hanity says something does not actually mean it is true. They rarely get through a comlete sentence without either a flat out lie or a deliberate mischaracterization or a misleading twisting of situations.

Posted by: John1263 | February 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Gerson makes a case for the republicans which is them saying: "Don't talk to us if you have an intellect larger than ours". They loved Bush for his dumbed down style and idiotic chortle. They can't handle being talked to like the schoolchildren they act like.

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

More delusions from the right.

What I saw was a minority party trying to muscle their way into getting it their way. The "ambush" was showing the GOP leadership as petty as usual but not quite as vicious about it since they were forced into the daylight.

There were four losers Thursday - Harry Reid, Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Over all the right-wingers showed they do not have a viable option but didn't blatantly come out in defense of big business over the American people. They will wait until their aren't any Democrats around before they go back to the tired and failed.

There were no winners, but everyone gained an opportunity to look and act like adults. The real test comes this weekend on the "talk politics" circuit.

Posted by: BigTrees | February 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness:
Our president ANNOYS Little Gerson!!!

Oh Mercy me and all. We must ask for a recall and apologize.
Does this twit ever tire of being a fool?

Posted by: whistling | February 26, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse


It's funny to hear criticism of President's Obama demeanor, after he's been accused of being a Socialist, of wanting to impose a completly governemnt managed economy and a government "takeover" of the health care system.

Yes, Mr. Gerson, we have heard the Republican ideas to date:

-- Do nothing after 14 months, start over.

-- Tort reform (any Tort reform bills submitted by Republicans in past 14 months, nah.

-- Let large insurance and hospital companies determine what all important health care decisions are.

-- Ignore the nearly $8000.00 per capita health care cost today, it will fix itself via the free market.

As to an ambush, the real ambush will probably happen to Republican's in November. After the election, they'll be running around saying, "No, wait, let's start over . . . !"

Posted by: kenhyde | February 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Useless column, useless headline, useless GOP-tool WaPo, useless GOP. Obama's efforts yesterday just made that all the more public. GOP continues to row the U.S. backward down denial.

Posted by: jbh3 | February 26, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

What was on display yet again is that the GOP is aparty of thugs and criminals and scam artists, like Gerson himself, that has nothing to offer. It is hard to believe that this party of idiots and liars is national party, largely due to the support of thuggish corporate media like the Washington Post that channles its views and props it up at every turn. Washington Post is being run by the former wall street journal crowd that never calls out this pary for its hypocrisy and hires bozos like Gerson to burnish its image.

Posted by: kevin1231 | February 26, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Obama is painted as some elitist professor? Could it be because the Republicans are dumber than dirt? They can't put together a coherent argument with some facts? That's the best they got, he treated us like we were in school and he was the headmaster? Ya darn right...he IS the President. Elections have consequences. You lost. Deal with it. Now Obama has them right where he wants them. Everyone saw he gave them an opportunity to get their ideas considered, and they have set forth no coherent argument other than obstruction to go back to square one. What Obama needs is the magic number, the number of Republican ideas that were incorporated in his bill and ALL the other ones and then SELL it to the world as BI-partisan because it IS bi-partisan, and just because they won't VOTE for it doesn't mean it isn't BI-Partisan. It means they are obstructing the will of the people and forgot...THEY LOST.

Posted by: jacquie1 | February 26, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, much like his Republican brethren who attended the summit, talks a lot but says nothing of consequence. The Republicans, as always, offered little of substance to justify their objections to the Democrats' plan.

Posted by: Diogenes | February 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Gerson has had a long career as a professional liar. Some of those lies resulted in tens of thousands of people being killed. The Post discredits itself by hiring such a man. He is not a journalist, nor an analyst. He is a professional propagandist.

Posted by: turningfool | February 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

What health-care summit did you listen to? As the President said yesterday, the election is over, move on. We have at a minimum 3 more years.

Posted by: brit89 | February 26, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This wasn't a Summit. It was more like the Battle of Little Big Horn, with obama playing Custer.
This was His Game on His Home Court and He was the referee, and the time keeper!!
Result - professorial put-downs with the democrats getting 4.3 hours, while the Republicans got 2.2 hours!!
Such a fine sense of fair play He has!
We will see much of that video in the 2012 campaign - His last!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | February 26, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe annnort claimed that the proponents of universal health care are greedy. Indeed if there is a model for greed in this country, it is the Conservatives with their "I've got mine and I want even more" attitude. They will cry about how hard they have worked to make their money and yet people like Richard Sccaife who are behind the funding for their propaganda never worked a day in his life.

I say, don't stop with getting rid of the Bush tax cuts, let's do the right thing and get rid of those of Reagan. Get the wealthy back to paying their fair share and we could solve all of these fiscal problems. And please no nonsense about a "fair tax" in which everyone pays the same percentage. Anyone who follows that silliness shold first advocate it for the payroll tax. If we did away with the maximum on that and everyone payed the same rate on ALL of their income, there would be no problem with social security. We could easily afford excellent health care for everyone if it were not for the conservatives who are so afraid that someone else will get more than they do. Listen to their rhetoric -- that is greed. I personally have good health care, but I would not mind paying more taxes to insure that everyone was covered. We could take the best from all of the systems in the world and give it a distinctive American twist and design if people would drop their greed and listen to one of the few significant things President Reagan ever said -- it is amazing what we can accomplish if nobody cares who gets credit. Remember at the beginning of this whole mess, it was William Kristol who told the GOP to fight this -- not because it was a bad idea but because if it passed, the Democrats would be in power for 40 years. That shows that he knew the people would like universal health care if they had it. Why people follow people like him and try to put forth illogical arguments is beyond me. At least Kristol was honest about why he opposed it.

And if it doesn't pass, then I hope the people will throw out not only the Republicans but also the Conservative Democrats and replace them with people who care about Americans and not just their own greed. We went through this same nonsesne when they passed Social Security and Medicare and they are very popular. The same will happen here if only we can get past the greed.

Posted by: TomfromNJ1 | February 26, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what anyone writes, or says, or thinks

the repugs don't want this because they want the administration to fail

mccains plan would push co payments of the poorer people up - whats up with that?

get over it people, the corporations and health care industry DO NOT WANT REFORM

this country is a disgrace when it comes to health care

i have worked 18 years and was laid off and I am without health care

i am 61 and my job prospects are minimal because of the cost of my health insurance to employers

if I get sick now, I will not be able to get care, in case you all don't realize unemployment doesn't pay didlysquat sooooo
wish me luck

and congress, go ef yourself

Posted by: lndlouis | February 26, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The second paragraph of this feeble, by the numbers (and unneeded) essay is what caught my eye. It is pure racism. An uppity black man, acting superior, rudely scolds his white betters. Baloney! The most thoughtful, inelligent person we've OVERWHELMINGLY ELECTED TO THE WHITE HOUSE since Teddy Roosevelt, is supposed to act like a busboy? I am an elderly white man, and I admire our President; you, not so much.

Posted by: jamessyl | February 26, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at the number of totally deceived idiots on here attacking Gerson. Libs/Dems/Socialists, all believing they were somehow "strong" in the meeting. You people were feeble and pathetic. As for big lips obama, HE needs to learn that the campaign is over. If anyone needs to learn it, it's that loser. Believe what you want. You're all going to be in shock come November, when there are few "Dems" left in Congress at all. The People know what you are. I'd like to say it's been swell, having you around, but that would be a lie. Dems/Libs/Socialists, you all suck.

Posted by: wsmax54
__________________________________________
"big lips obama"? Can't wait for the next post from one of these wingnuts claiming that all Liberals do is cry racism when they post outrageous claims against President Obama. At least wsmax54 wears his/her racism on his/her sleeve.

Posted by: Observer001 | February 26, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Mr. Gerson, you really should have selected a portrait photo that shows you sporting your propeller beanie.

Your boys got their pants taken down and were roundly SPANKED.

WHACK! WHACK!

One after another...

Try to pass off your lying talking point? WHACK! Beaten back by the facts.

Now, Mr. President, don't get a big head. It'll have a public option, you realize, or you your belated performance, and Pelosi and Reid will be history.

We are never going to settle for a bill that does NOTHING to curb costs and hands the insurance companies 35 million new conscripts in return for a hollow promise that this time they'll hold up their end of the contract, cross their hearts and hope you die.

We already have state panels to "review" increases. In Pennsylvania, my personal experience is that they are nothing but a government-sponsored excuse factory as they rubber-stamp those increases. You simply can't solve the problem that way, particularly when Sarah Palin takes over in 2012 and puts Brownie in charge.

The only prayer we've got is low-overhead competition to set the performance standard for delivery of value to customers, so customers can make a meaningful choice, not a choice between a plan that actually provides coverage and a lower-cost plan whose coverage is tantamount to the Safe Auto of health care to which you alluded.

So don't try to blow smoke up our skirt. We know what we want, we tell you so unabiguously and overwhemlingly in poll after poll after poll, even after the non-stop well-poisioning onslaught of the insurance lobby and the politicians who work for them: STILL between 60% and 75% of Americans support a public option. If you can't get this done, you are done. Period.

We will not be moved. You might try to declare victory for this insurance company giveaway that caused their share prices to skyrocket, but we will not be moved.

Tell that "effing retard" Rahm Emanuel we out here in our pajamas will not be moved.

Tell your campaign donors: we will not be moved.

Never, ever. And we will exact harsh retribution at the ballot box should you choose -- no, should you dare -- to ignore this warning.

We elected you to get this job done. Get it done, or voting for you won't be worth the gas it takes to get to the polls.

Posted by: trippin | February 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

At least I can read a decent article after reading all the bull s__ from Dana Milbank here.

Evidently President Obama thinks that he has a mandate to bully and lecture everyone as he thinks he is so far superior to any. He continues to ignore the opinion of all polls who are stating clearly that the majority of people DO NOT support Obama's health care and policies.

Yesterday's exercise showed the Republicans in a much stronger position and quite a few were able to make very valid points and talk about their ideas. In contrast, I did not see any democrat well prepared and able to make points that will be valid.

If you will analyze, Obama answered and interrupted very often and went into personal arguments to shut down or deflect. He was observed quite irritated and often placing his fingers on his face demonstrating a quite disrespective demeanor.

Evidently he has not been taught well the art of LISTENING and drawing consensus.

So, at the end we could see clearly that this was nothing more than a ploy to destroy the Republicans, but the end result really backfired on Obama, because it portrayed an individual so full of arrogance that he cannot see for once the opinions of others. And I invite you to think about what President Obama thinks about all of us. There were several times when it almost came out of his mouth that he doesn't think much of the rest of us.

And that is what baffles him when he is comfronted by the reality of the polls that tell him clearly that most of the american people DO NOT like his policies and DO NOT trust him! This is what will make him certainly a one term President!

PRESIDENT OBAMA CANNOT CONNECT WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!

Posted by: Hispana | February 26, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Why do we have an insurance industry?

Posted by: vigor | February 26, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"I'm amazed at the number of totally deceived idiots on here attacking Gerson."

Well said. There's a role in South Park for you!

Just make sure one of those Blackwater gangsters doesn't co-opt it to sign out AK47s in Afghanistan, or you might get a bill from the taxpayer. We hate providing public assistance to right wingers because despite their incessant whining about "socialism" they always have their hands in the public till.

Posted by: trippin | February 26, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Indlouis: "i have worked 18 years and was laid off and I am without health care

i am 61 and my job prospects are minimal because of the cost of my health insurance to employers"....you worked 18 years and now you're 61....so you didn't start working until 43? Was getting that GED that hard for you. Hell, I've been working over 40 years and I am younger than you...perhaps if you had started earlier you would have had more desireable skills that would make you more marketable.

Posted by: AdaminVA1 | February 26, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are going to make sure they do not give America what it needs....

Posted by: vigor | February 26, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

And now the real test will be if Obama and his democratic followers are ready to commit political suicide by pushing this bill despite the repeated polls stating clearly that the majority of americans reject this health care bill and Obama's policies.

Are all democrats ready to be slaughtered? Let's see if they can go ahead with Reconciliation. Methinks that the real opposition is within the democratic party!

I bet a new House and Senate come November and Obama as a ONE TERM President! It's written clearly on the wall and any wise politician ought to make an about face!

Posted by: Hispana | February 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Typical Gerson - missing the forest for the trees. Obama simply put forth the facts debunking the idiocy spouted by the GOP. Must be hard for you Michael having your entire party shown up by a smart man - and a black one at that!

Posted by: jhinderaker | February 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans ... made sophisticated arguments."

Yeah, right. Their simplistic talking points were "start over," "step by step" and "clean sheet of paper" repeated ad nauseum. How long does Gershon expect the Democrats to waste time in a holding pattern waiting for the Republicans to catch up?

Posted by: multiplepov | February 26, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi this is ownage calling for Mr. Gershon? Calls for you on line ones and two:

Line One: http://tinyurl.com/ybvwdvm

Line Two: http://tinyurl.com/ydajgvj

A sack of hammers is smarter than you Gerson.

Oh and one more thing: unpluggedboodah wins the internet for today with this:

I saw a bunch of Democrats making great points on one side and a bunch of dimwitted fools carrying around stacks of papers on the other.

P.S. Say hello to your sister Gina for me.

Posted by: jhinderaker | February 26, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse


Oh my goodness:
Our president ANNOYS Little Gerson!!!

Oh Mercy me and all. We must ask for a recall and apologize.
Does this twit ever tire of being a fool?

----------------

You dont know how many times the voice of GW pushed me over the edge. He and Sarah have to be the two people in public life who say the most with the lease knowledge of what they said. Listening to them was and is torture. I'll take intellegence over that any day. I am against dumbing down our presidents. I want them way smarter than me. Too much complicated stuff out there to understand and I think we can see who had pretty good handle on facts yesterday. How do you think Bush or Palin would have done under these bright lights. Too painful to think about.

Posted by: patisok | February 26, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I know the common knowledge is that the GOP will win big in 2010 and 2012. But I just want to be there win the headlines read.

Obama did not fail. Health Care Bill passes and Dems retain all Congressional Seats.

I am sure it wont happen but neither will it be the sweeping victory they think. The Tea Party and they will keep fighting amongst themselves and they will split the vote enough that Dems will retain seats. By that time, The Teaparty uber right would have said some more dumb things about blacks and hispanics that will sure to piss off a few more folks. Left to their own devices I think they will wind up destroying themselves before the Dems have to even intervine.

Posted by: patisok | February 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

i still think the past mayor of wasilla, alaska looks like the H.S teacher/stripper from "Varsity Blues".

anyone agree?

Posted by: dc1020008 | February 26, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The Florida congressman said it best. The Rethuglican health plan has 2 phases: Don't get sick. If you get sick, die quickly. Why did your cohorts not put this plan up for discussion?

And what reconciliation? The basic plan passed with 60 votes last year. This was a chance for the Republithugs to be constructive.
No they left with their tails between their legs after another mismatched intellectual battle with Obambi.

Posted by: bgreston | February 26, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Our President is articulate and knows his facts. The Republicans are condescending and have no facts they can even come close to backing up. An ambush? Hardly. You and "your" legislators, I mean students, are condesending to the American people. How could you possibly think that we have the best health care system in the world when people are denied coverage and die because they can not afford health care. Quite frankly you and your cohorts make me sick. The only decent thing that the Republicans did yesterday was to leave most of the party loney tunes at home. And John McCain?--it is way past time for him to retire-his influence is so "over".

Posted by: jstewartecu | February 26, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

You disappoint me with your Republican "talking point" headline. While my world view in many cases is probably different from that of yours, I have always respected your articles for it's strength on facts. Adopting Republican talking points like this will only result in you losing the respect of the moderate ones among us who can be persuaded by a good argument based on facts - whether that is conservative or liberal in philosophy. There is absolutely no evidence that the president setup the summit yesterday as a "trap" for Republicans. In fact, if anything I truly believe he was looking for at least a few Republican votes and would have been open to further (albeit small) compromises on the bill so that he could have at least claimed a small victory on "bipartisonship" - to the Chagrin of many on the left. The "trap" argument has always been a figment of imagination of the paranoid Right - worthy of a "Krauthammer" type article. It is disappointing to see you follow that crowd.

Posted by: turnedrightgotlost | February 26, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I see that the "give me free stuff" crowd is out in force today.

Note to people who continue to want free stuff from productive taxpayers: There's no money left for you. The free ride is over. Japan and China will not lend so you can get free stuff channeled to you through the US Gov't.

Have a nice day!

Posted by: MickPack | February 26, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

As Sen. Robert Byrd (R-W.V.) has pointed out, its use in this case would permanently diminish the rights of the Senate minority.
_______
Huh? Since when did Robert Byrd switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP? Last I saw, he was a Democrat.....

Posted by: WildBill1 | February 26, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Gerson unwittingly points out the problem with the republican position: "On the wrong side of political momentum, they [Dems] needed a breakthrough of some sort."

Gerson and the Republicans see healthcare reform as a political game--not a serious problem that needs addressed. Therefore, to Gerson and like-minded politicos, the question is all about who wins or loses politically and NOT about how the country is affected in the end by continuing to do nothing.


Posted by: writinron | February 26, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

so dude, seriously, just because WaPo keeps you on staff just to keep you off the welfare rolls doesn't mean you can just mail it in every time you write. try to surprise us once in a while. just to keep it fresh.

Posted by: sixman | February 26, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse


Barry prattles on and on because he loves to hear himself talk. This was nothing more than another exercise in narcissism by Barry the incompetent boob Obama.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 26, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr Gerson. who came to that table with an arm full of papers. Almost every republican had the stack of Health Care reform and they all had a different number of pages. which tells me they had no idea what was in it... they were called down on a few things that they thought might get them a headline, but there was not discussion on anything...they flattly said it was trash and therefore they were not going to vote on it...they all expressed what they had rehearsed., step by step...laughing now, sorry... they were not ambushed... there was not fight.. It is all over and they lost... go back to your desk and put your head in your hands and think again... omg

Posted by: flowymac | February 26, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr Gerson. who came to that table with an arm full of papers. Almost every republican had the stack of Health Care reform and they all had a different number of pages. which tells me they had no idea what was in it... they were called down on a few things that they thought might get them a headline, but there was not discussion on anything...they flattly said it was trash and therefore they were not going to vote on it...they all expressed what they had rehearsed., step by step...laughing now, sorry... they were not ambushed... there was not fight.. It is all over and they lost... go back to your desk and put your head in your hands and think again... omg

Posted by: flowymac | February 26, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

How sad to watch the Washington Post desperately attempt to become the print equivalent of Fox News -- "fair and balanced".

Under the "leadership" of Fred Hiatt, political thugs like Gerson are given a megaphone to spew their toxic nonsense. I moved away from the D.C. area some years ago, and was so sad I couldn't get the Post delivered outside of the area. Now, I am sad for a different reason: I can't cancel my subscription in protest of Hiatt's loony vision of the Post-qua-Fox News

Posted by: wiltonsjs | February 26, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Was Gerson even in attendance or did he even watch it? He is not writing about the event that I saw.

Posted by: kwoodgr | February 26, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

will seattle, kindly take your left wing play book back to Venezuela where loons like you belong!

Posted by: nmg3rln | February 26, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm with those who question the term "ambush."

President Obama did end up turning the event into something of a debate, but that was to be expected. Let's face it, everyone had plenty of time to prepare themselves for the discussion and everyone knew what it was going to be about. It would have been an ambush if the Republicans had been asked to a meeting regarding Afghanistan policy and the Democrats had changed the topic to health care reform.

It would be nice if the Republicans would just say what they really believe. We've allowed the health care industry to become so large and sprawling that the cost of reforming it have become too large. If our major banks have become too big to fail, then the health care industrial complex has become too big to reform.

Posted by: rmillerxznu | February 26, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Gerson - spot on and well articulated!

The sham failed. And the liberals posting here are foaming at the mouth over it.

Posted by: Chamaco | February 26, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Senator Byrd is a Democrat, not a Republican as you have identified him

Posted by: ado211 | February 26, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Amazing! Who are the most foul-mouthed commenters of this site? The liberals! It's my understanding that the White House has courses on this in the East Room each Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. Liberals simply cannot stand it that most people in this country don't agree with them. Of course, to them, that means the rest of us are just plain stupid! That's what Obama thinks. You can see it in his expression. He's thinking, How dare anyone in this room think I'm anything other than brilliant! What an arrogant jerk!

Posted by: georges2 | February 26, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Right wingers are worse than thugs and criminals. They are shameless and will say anything. They have no dignity or common decency. People like Gerson hired by the Washington Post to keep right wing corporate scam going are in that crowd.

Posted by: kevin1231 | February 26, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse


georges2 said re Obama:
"What an arrogant jerk!"

I've never seen anyone better suited to that description. Not even close.
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 26, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but, incredibly pooer article. Somebody needs to be fired.

Posted by: dudh | February 26, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, Mr. Gerson,
Still shilling for the Republican party I see. Are you aware that you were shellacked in the last election. You should go retire to Texas and help your former boss clear shrubs.

Posted by: GWBequalsWPE | February 26, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, it looks like you wrote this post before Obama started talking.

Posted by: chris_holte | February 26, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Only someone who considers open discussion a threat could think of the summit an "ambush."

Considering all the time they spend spreading misinformation, Republicans must feel extremely threatened right now, especially by someone who speaks as clearly and rationally as President Obama.

The summit revealed two things that should have been obvious before - the intransigence of the Republicans, and the (misguided, I think) efforts of the Democrats to placate Republicans to achieve reform.

Posted by: ArmyBrat68 | February 26, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

He mailed it in.

Posted by: GWBequalsWPE | February 26, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

If the the Speaker of the House has the votes she should bring the Senate bill up for a vote. I wonder why this has not happened yet.

Posted by: DanCanaveral | February 26, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama's anecdotal story about his car insurance episode didn't ring true. If he, fresh out of college, had an old car he probably only had liability insurance and so wasn't covered by his policy. However, IF he was rear-ended as he claims then the other car's insurance probably should have repaired his car. And, I'd be very surprised if his ins. co. "laughed" at him. That especially didn't sound like something that happens in real life. I think he made up most of this story.

Posted by: hit4cycle | February 26, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Welfare reform was passed in 1996 via reconciliation. So, no, it's not correct to say that "this legislative maneuver has not been used to pass major social legislation".

Posted by: seantolsen

---------------------------

To be fair, that reconciliation effort was somewhat different from this one. In that case, Republicans and some Democrats worked together with Clinton to enact the reform, so it was a bipartisan reconciliation and not a party-line one.

Also, the welfare reform was placing budgetary limits on the existing welfare system by removing the entitlement provisions from it, which is what budget reconciliation was actually meant to do...close up budget gaps. Health care, on the other hand, is creating an entirely new federal apparatus and is spending new money and establishing new taxes. Yes, Democrats could squeeze some parts through with reconciliation, but the bill is really a policy proposal and not merely a budgeting issue.

Posted by: blert | February 26, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama's anecdotal story about his car insurance episode didn't ring true. If he, fresh out of college, had an old car he probably only had liability insurance and so wasn't covered by his policy. However, IF he was rear-ended as he claims then the other car's insurance probably should have repaired his car. And, I'd be very surprised if his ins. co. "laughed" at him. That especially didn't sound like something that happens in real life. I think he made up most of this story.

Posted by: hit4cycle

------------------

Yeah, that anecdote was just embarrassing. Besides the fact that the other driver should have paid liability damages, Obama's story hinted that he didn't know the different between liability insurance required by most states and collision insurance, which is normally optional. If the accident was his fault, and if he had a state-mandated liability policy, then that would pay damage to other people, but not cover the cost of Obama's own car. This is elementary to anyone who has ever bought car insurance, and yet Obama doesn't know the difference.

What is more, what analogy was he trying to make? I mean, it's doctors who have liability insurance, so was the point that a doctor with malpractice liability insurance ought to be able to get that policy to pay when the doctor breaks his own leg skiing? Obama never really made any point clearly with the analogy, and maybe just implied, "Insurance companies...evil," but all that really showed through was his own ignorance on how insurance policies work.

Posted by: blert | February 26, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

To all those on the right who "can't wait for November?"

Well, for us in the pragmatic middle and others on the progressive left:

Neither can we.

Posted by: wxdancer | February 26, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Republicans may have escaped one part of the ambush, but I'm not convinced that they escaped the more serious part of it. Yes, some of them came across as reasonable, engaged legislators with sharp ideas, which stymies the Democrats' ranting about the "party of no" and that Republicans have no plan and no ideas. Obviously, that's not the case.

But the bigger trap here was that Obama used the summit to release his amendments to the Senate plan a couple days earlier, and then Democrats started floating in the media their plan to perhaps pass the Senate bill in the House, and then use reconciliation to mop up any amendments.

Obama made clear at the summit that he thinks the time for talking is done. He has his bill, and he wants it passed. Obama forced the Republicans into the meeting because refusing to come would have been political suicide for them, confirming that they don't want to work on the issue, and Obama pretended leading up to it that everything was on the table to make deals. Once at the meeting, there were no deals to be made whatsoever. Obama essentially offered Republicans this: "Either vote for my bill now, or else we will ram this down your throats." Any Republicans who thought that Obama was really open to reconsidering ideas for reform were flatly deceived.

Posted by: blert | February 26, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was arrogantly instructed that the “election’s over.” Why is a simple truism "arrogant?" Or "uppity," which is what Massa Gerson really means.

Posted by: mnjam | February 26, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The reason McCain was instructed that "the election's over" was because it was supremely evident yesterday that Mr. McCain is incapable of discussing the substance of an issue. The only thing that comes out of Mr. McCain's mouth is sound bites for an election campaign -- which, by the way, is what faces McCain from now until November.

And so Mr. McCain has become useless as a problem-solver and irrelevant in the Senate.

Which goes to confirm my belief that there should be a mandatory retirement age of 70 in the Senate. Old men over 70 in politics are dinosaurs who are just in the way; they need to step aside or be shoved out, and let the younger generations get this country moving again.

Sorry, John, but it all came out of your mouth yesterday. Very depressing.

Posted by: dlopata | February 26, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

This summit was a complete disaster for the democrats....The GOP was armed and dangerous... Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor the two young rising stars of the party completely out did the dems and Obama... Also Lamar Alexander and Tom Coburn had excellent days... The dems came with sob stories and tissues, the Republicans came with substance and issues......Read: The Bullying Pulpit....at.....
http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ronsuev | February 26, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse


The Lib Dems are taking their final last desperate wheezing gasp as they sink under the weight of their own Arrogance, Ignorance, Incompetence and Liberalism. Their rapid demise is a beautiful thing to witness.

Elections of 2010 & 12 Cannot Come Soon Enough !!

Posted by: jas7751 | February 26, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Indlouis: "i have worked 18 years and was laid off and I am without health care

i am 61 and my job prospects are minimal because of the cost of my health insurance to employers"....you worked 18 years and now you're 61....so you didn't start working until 43? Was getting that GED that hard for you. Hell, I've been working over 40 years and I am younger than you...perhaps if you had started earlier you would have had more desireable skills that would make you more marketable.

Posted by: AdaminVA1 | February 26, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

no dim one

i have worked all my life (while raising my children)but for the last 18 years was employed by one company until the economy went south

how can you be so presumptous, your arrogance screams you are a republican

my point was that health care is expensive especially for older workers making it very hard on employers to carry me

my company is going to hire me back when the job market returns, my skills are none of your business

however - the point of this article is "health insurance", maybe you should go on rants and raves since you enjoy an attitude of superiority and there you will find lots of people inferior to you that you can criticize

peace out and good luck with yourself

also, you might want to try researching other countries health plans and see why our country is so far behind in the world in this area

maybe you don't mind giving all your money to rich insurance executives; and hopefully, you will never find yourself in my shoes

Posted by: lndlouis | February 26, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The exchange I remember most was when Republican Eric Cantor said, "Polls show that the American people don't want this bill."

Mr. Gerson, with all due respect, the most important poll of all is 55-45. That's the number of Democrats in the Senate who voted for the bill, and the number of Republicans and a few Democrats who voted against it.

Now, since we all know that legislators almost always vote in their own self-interest, those numbers seem to show a fallacy in any poll Eric Cantor was pointing to.

Furthermore, there are only two other polls that are of any importance in this entire debate. One was the poll taken in November 2008, and the other is the poll that will be taken in November 2010. Those are the polls when Americans showed that they're overwhelmingly in favor of the health care bill being debated (otherwise, legislators would not be voting against their own self-interest), and when they'll once again reflect the American people's desire to get something done on health care.

It is outrageous that Republicans like you could oppose something so basic as health care for Americans. Not emergency room health care (which we now have and which you probably support), but cost-effective, comprehensive and preventive health care. It is good for our economy, it makes for a more productive workforce, and it doesn't bankrupt families. Get the right polling data next time.

Posted by: sthomas1957 | February 26, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I just finished scrolling through all the screaming and gnashing of teeth over Gerson's article. I saw a good part of the Summit yesterday which Gerson described quite accurately, but not totally. Being a syndicated writer he held back on descriptions such as smug, rude, know it all and to put in plainly, a pompous
A_ _ _ _ _ _ _. I 'm sure that any of the A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ who wrote their various vile comments and are reading mine are feeling their blood pressure rise. Well this is my little bit of fun with you idiots; hope I've been successful

Posted by: joel16 | February 26, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

wasn't your last column about how childish the teabaggers are ???

so what's the problem with treating spoiled children like spoiled children

was treating repuglitards like third graders giving the repuglitards too much credit ???

otherwise, I see no problem treating the repuglitards like children

you admit they are acting like spoiled children

Posted by: nada85484 | February 26, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

wasn't your last column about how childish the teabaggers are ???

so what's the problem with treating spoiled children like spoiled children

was treating repuglitards like third graders giving the repuglitards too much credit ???

otherwise, I see no problem treating the repuglitards like children

you admit they are acting like spoiled children

Posted by: nada85484 | February 26, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Georges2 said: "Oh, we were watching the same show, all right, borntorun 45, but you liberals simply will not admit that you're totally out of step with the American people!"

Um, Georges, we liberals ARE the American people... We're just not as loud and irritating as the constant nattering voices of the far right. Our numbers are growing every day, though, as more and more Americans come to the realization that they've been consistently lied to by the GOP. I'm sorry that you haven't realized that yet, but I'm hopeful that one day, you will.

Posted by: borntorun45 | February 26, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans got schooled!

Posted by: writedave | February 26, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is a party hack. A joke.

If the Post needs to initiate cost-cutting, he would be the place to start.

Posted by: Oomingmak | February 26, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not listening to the American Taxpayers. He is arrogant, only seeing his way, no wonder democrats are retiring right and left. He is enslaving the American Taxpayers.

WE do not want Obama HealthCare Bill:

1. We do not want to pay for even more National Debt.
2. We do not want to pay for abortions here or abroad. $11 billion dollars is going to "Community Health Clinics" which pretty much goes to Planned Parenthood Clinics, to be placed in our public schools... what a hack. Killing babies of blacks, browns and poor/uneducated women.
3. The bill does nothing to curtail the raising cost of health care, only mandating us to pay even more. He does not address real problems with medical lawsuits & HMOs.

All we saw was Obama ramming his own agenda and his complete disrespect/disdain for budget control and for the Republicans and the taxpayers they represent... we were seeing closed/narrow minded Obama negotiating tactics, do it my way or the highway. I am glad it was televised.

We must fight for our freedom and liberty. Obama must do real cost cutting before we should trust him with our money... scrap this bill and start over.

We do not want to be enslave by Obama's ideologies (debt and more debt and killings of our babies)


Posted by: happyday3 | February 26, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse


I think the summit succeeded. It seized the initiative for the Dems. Obama showed the Republicans for the obstructionists that they are. And it gave cover to the Dems decision to go it alone. If they're going to fix our broken system it's going to have to be their way, because the GOP doesn't want to change the system.


Posted by: paul6554 | February 26, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse


Reconcilliation is doomed to fail. Obama will never find 51 Senators willing to commit political suicide to support his Obamacare bill.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 26, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ambush?
When you have to start defeating imaginary foes in order to feel successful in life, it's time to hang up the spurs and seek therapy.

Posted by: labman57 | February 26, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The Socialists want the Republicans to compromise. What they are choosing to ignore is that there is nothing to compromise about. We don't want it. Period!

Posted by: lashadow1 | February 26, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

30 million without insurance. republican plan: so what? no problem. did I miss anything?

Posted by: samd2 | February 26, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

An Important Message from the state of Tennessee
_________________________

RE: TN Healthcare APHA Scores

Voting Records Speak For Themselves

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health.

APHA scores elected officials.
Learn about your representative's score here:
@ http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

These are our results from Tennessee

Lamar Alexander Republican Senator 0%
Marsha Blackburn Republican Representative 0%
Phil Roe Republican 0%
Jimmy Duncan Republican Representative 22%
Jimmy Duncan Republican Representative 22%
Zach Wamp Republican Representative 33%

Jim Cooper Democratic Representative 89%
Bart Gordon Democratic Representative 75%
Lincoln Davis Democratic Representative 67%
John Tanner Democratic Representative 67%

Senator Bob Corker is not scored but is lock & step toward 18-22%.

As soon as members of Congress are sworn in, they may participate in (FEHBP). The program offers an assortment of health plans from which to choose, including fee-for-service, point-of-service, and (HMOs).

Anyone who trusts someone with less than 50% needs to reconsider. Seriously...

check your rep's score @

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

PS: Personal Kudos to Jim Cooper & Bart Gordon from CitizensWin.org

Posted by: billtyerdesigns | February 26, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

30 million without insurance. republican plan: so what? no problem. did I miss anything?

Posted by: samd2

More like 10 million "legal" citizens that want healthcare yet can't afford it. They still will get healthcare regardless if they can afford it or not. So perhaps you libs should find another "crisis" to create.

Posted by: trippermeow | February 26, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Republicans will never support healthcare reform for two simple reasons:

1) The industries that would be subject to reform are the industries which fund the potlical lives of Republican politicians.

2) Healthcare reform is so huge and complex that a federal response is necessary to enact the large scale reform that is needed. Republicans will never support a federal response to anything. (See Katrina, Republican response to).

Posted by: bartedson | February 26, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to post on the WP without using the "w" word for Republicans. How about trollops?

Posted by: rusty3 | February 26, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Prof. Oboobma really is an insufferable, narcissistic twit who wore out his welcome in short order. Next!

Posted by: thebump | February 26, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Reasons this summit failed:
1) Harry Reid was given the best chance in his life to look like he was leading in the best interest of the people instead of his party, and he offered nothing.
2) John Boehner looked at his colleagues with a straight face and said "America has the best healthcare program in the world." He said that. On television.
The most humorous moment:
John Barrasso backed up Boehner's statement by relating a touching story about a rich Canadian who found a great US doctor to treat him instead of one of the 17 million Americans who can't afford treatment under our current program. Can the GOP keep this guy from talking in the future?

Posted by: ParkShark | February 26, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

When a born leader displays his intelligence and backbone, Republicans don't know what to think, it's so unfamiliar to them, so they call it "narcisicm".

Posted by: bartedson | February 26, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

We must fight for our freedom and our liberty.

We must save this country from the naive idiots who are dead set on destroying it.

Keep America Safe!

Defeat all Republicans!

Posted by: bartedson | February 26, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the Republicans need to put up or shutup. They need to start doing the People's business and stop all this rightwing partisanship. They didn't do anything for us when they were in power (7 years) and now they want to block everything that the Democrats want to do. I am not saying they should roll over but they need to be part of the solution instead of the problem.

Posted by: rymp | February 26, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the Republicans need to put up or shutup. They need to start doing the People's business and stop all this rightwing partisanship. They didn't do anything for us when they were in power (7 years) and now they want to block everything that the Democrats want to do. I am not saying they should roll over but they need to be part of the solution instead of the problem.

Posted by: rymp | February 26, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Partisan hack, as usual. Surely the Post is violating some election law by not requiring the Rs to pay for this advertising.

Posted by: nc1123 | February 26, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

....and , "GIVE A FACE TO GRIDLOCK " they certainly did .

The FRAUD IN CHEIF was an atrocious disgrace to the entire dignity of the U.S. MILITARY in the disrespectful way he acted toward JOHN McCain ... A tortured P.O.W. and DECORATED WAR HERO .

Playing, "PLANTATION BOSS MAN" was just one more example of OBAMAs unfitness !!! This is not a PRESIDENT it is a REPROBATE TYRANT ... NAKED MARXIST ... it is the face of Americas most embarrassing HISTORICAL DECLINE !

Posted by: noHUCKABEEnoVOTE | February 26, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Welfare reform was passed in 1996 via reconciliation. So, no, it's not correct to say that "this legislative maneuver has not been used to pass major social legislation".

Posted by: seantolsen | February 25, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

===============

That was also a bi-partisan bill between a GOP congress and a Democratic President. Completely different scenario, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Chuckled | February 26, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, those crafty Republicans shrewdly avoided having to confront a rising disaster again! They should roundly congratulate themselves. It's morning in America.

Posted by: mfloydhall | February 26, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Republicans failed at bringing any ideas to the table to solve this mess.

Their only solutions would perpetuate it. It's clear they are in the insurance industry's pocket.

Obama has no choice to move forward without them. America cannot tolerate obstructionism any more.

Posted by: colonelpanic | February 26, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse


"Prof. Oboobma really is an insufferable, narcissistic twit"

"Obama is an arrogant jerk"

These two comments pretty well size up Obama's rude remarks. The one to McCain allowed him to avoid discussing his deceit about C-Span coverage of the health care discussions. The only consolation is that you jabo's who voted for him desedve him.
.

Posted by: Billw3 | February 27, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Thursday’s health care summit was what it was: an exercise in rhetoric. Republicans reprised their familiar routine of propaganda and political theater. Democrats dug in, sticking mostly to the same talking points they’ve been repeating for over a year now. And the President persistently attempted to bridge the gaps and break the deadlock between them, to no avail.

Unfortunately, it was obvious from Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) opening remarks onward that Republicans never intended to have a real conversation about health care. Rather than focusing on areas of potential agreement, like medical malpractice reform, the senator chose instead to misrepresent the facts about health insurance premiums.

Behind a facade of phony fiscal fortitude, the G.O.P. blindly obstructs legislation essential to our economic recovery, hoping that this cynical strategy will return them to power.

Moreover, by repeatedly refusing to engage in a serious exchange of ideas, Congressional Republicans fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth behind health care reform: that it is an economic and social necessity.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

Posted by: ArmchairFirebrand | February 27, 2010 5:36 AM | Report abuse

President obama and the Democrats are the proverbial tractor-trailer truck traveling down the road at 80 MPH... Gerson and the Republicans are the proverbial Deer caught in the headlights. Its just a matter of time... Smash, bash, boom !!!

Posted by: ODDOWL | February 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson did not witness the same health care summit as the rest of America. He saw as righteous, the Republicans misrepresentation and misstatement of almost every aspect of data related to the health care debate. He saw the President skillfully correcting the false assertions as an ambush and condescension. He saw John McCain's unrelated whining as inspired oratory. He saw President Obama's ability to preserve the meetings agenda as arrogant bullying. He saw the meeting, one that Republicans begged for, then dared the President to convene, as a trap made by the President. He saw the unwillingness of the Republicans to offer any tangible proposals and the revelation of their total indifference to the plight of non-wealthy Americans as a victory.

Mr. Gersen saw all of this, because he, like his Republican heroes, is committed to doing everything possible to prevent the President from succeeding. He saw an articulate, knowledgeable, intelligent and commanding President as condescending because he is a man of color. Mr. Gersen wanted to refer to the President, the most powerful man in the world, as uppity, for no other reason than the foundation of his self worth, the years of stereotyped indoctrination and social hypocrisy have been exposed as the great lie that they are.

Mr. Gersen saw a different summit because his illusions are the only thing keeping him from having a stroke.

Posted by: jsump | February 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I am so heartened that a good Christian like yourself, Mr. Gerson, thinks that getting HCR is nothing more than a chess game. never mind that people are dying daily for lack of basic, afoordable health care. What will you and the rest of the right won if all efforts to offer health care to everyone that wants and needs it fails? As in war, the only one to profit if health care in this country stays as it is, is the undertaker. As Senator Bunning told people who just want to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and the lights on with some unemployment money, I guess that is what the rest of the Republicans are telling the American people who just want some comfort in the fact that they can go to the doctor if they get sick -- "tough s**t!" But by all means, Gerson, have fun gloating over what you perceive to be a good day for Republican jacka**es.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 28, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Its not so much that it failed, it was doomed from the very beginning.

Posted by: joe100821 | February 28, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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