Ending With A Whimper

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I can't really see what good is supposed to come out of a bipartisan summit on health care:

A White House official, speaking on background, stressed that the meeting in no way signals a retreat from Obama's commitment to push ahead with comprehensive health care reform. He's interested in hearing out Republican ideas, the official said, but when the discussion is done he wants to see a bill move forward--and pass.

Why? Is he seriously interested in changing the bill to include more Republican ideas. Seriously? If not then what is he doing? Trying to show the American people how broad-minded he is? I like how Obama has come out over the past week. But I can't escape the feeling that there is no real plan. One day Rahm is telling us that health care is fifth on the list of priorities, the next day Obama is telling us that it's still at the top--or some such.

I'm having a really hard time seeing how this is going to happen. They don't have the votes. And by Obama's lights, it doesn't seem to much that can be done to create them. If Democrats lose this, with the kind of majority they command right now, with a Democratic president, why should any voter trust them to do any of the heavy lifting that's needed in this country?

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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