Here's what House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) says Republicans are looking for from President Obama's speech to the House and Senate tonight. From the press conference after the House GOP's conference meeting today:
His task is going to be to convince the American people that the proposal of a government option doesn't mean a government replacement of the healthcare system as we know it. Secondly, the test will include his being able to convince members, as well as the public, that an expanded government role will save the taxpayers money. Because I think intuitively that most Americans believe that more government in health care means more rationing and more forced discrimination on the basis of gender and age.
What it really is, I think for us as Republicans in the House, is an opportunity for us to see our president willing to start focus on areas we agree on and not just focus the areas that divide us. We all understand, we can rally around solutions having to do with preexisting conditions. We can do things about making sure that if somebody loses their job they don't necessarily lose their health care, instead of trying to insist that government competition is all we should be about. We are also hoping that a premium is put on getting it right, not just getting it done now, I think that does reflect where the American people are as well.
Obama will most likely hit on those commonplaces tonight; he's also sure to press for things that Cantor and House Republicans vehemently oppose, not to mention making a case that a government-run health insurance plan will not do the things Cantor says that people think it would do. We'll see what kind of a nod that common ground gets from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) in his post-speech GOP rebuttal.