On Friday 19 February, it was reported that President Obama was planning to:
publish his healthcare plan as early as Sunday or Monday, combining features of the two Democratic bills passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, congressional aides and healthcare advocates said on Friday.
Yet the very same day we're told he wants to hear from Republicans on what they have to offer:
"The Republicans say that they’ve got a better way to do it. So I want them to put it on the table. I’m not an unreasonable guy. If you show me that you can do the things we just talked about — protect people from insurance problems, make sure that the costs are controlled and people who don’t have health insurance are covered — you can do it cheaper than me, then why wouldn’t I do that? I’ll just grab your idea and say, ‘Great,’ and take all the credit. So show me what you got, but don’t let the American people go another year and another 10 years and another 20 years without health insurance."
It's fair to suggest that the President has become jaded by his short stint in the Oval office given his publicly stated desire for input from Republicans...so long as anything they offer aligns with the plans he already has in mind. To offer both sides of the political divide an opportunity to find common ground despite the fact that he already knows what he's willing to hear and accept only offers Americans the one thing he says he doesn't want: Political Theater:
"I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points," Obama said in his weekly address. "Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations. "
Since the President has the plan, knows how this all turns out, and is merely looking at this folly of a summit as Political cover for 2010 (shouting "we got health care done in true American bipartisan fashion...re-elect Democrats far and wide please") why don't the Republicans just stay home rather than go for the free coffee and donuts before having to throw the fight in the middle rounds?
Obama can burn both ends of the Healthcare candle all he wants. There's really no need for Republicans to light the match.