Why Have A Summit, Anyway?

By Chris Good

That's what House Minority Leader John Boehner is asking, as Democrats continue to work on a health care deal among themselves ahead of next week's bipartisan health care summit that will see Democratic Republican leaders and top-ranking committee members head to the White House to sit down with President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius next Thursday.

The Hill's Jeffrey Young reports that Boehner is questioning the summit--"We're one week away from the 'bipartisan' White House health care summit, and Washington Democrats are scrambling to salvage their massive--and quite partisan--government takeover of health care"--while Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY) is the only Republican to actually announce his intention to attend.

The possibility that Republicans won't show up for the meeting isn't something that's been widely discussed in the media, largely because Republicans weren't so cool to the idea at first. Since Obama proposed the televised summit a week and a half ago, they've come to criticize it.

If Democrats somehow come to a deal before the summit, and Republicans get the sense that the meeting will be all for show--an advertisement for Democratic reform proposals--it is unclear how possible it is that Republicans would actually stand up the president. If they did, it would be a major event, and the already dead spirit of bipartisanship would die yet again.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/02/why-have-a-summit-anyway/36214/