Bipartisanship can work

A while ago I expressed doubt about the bipartisan health care summit, because even with Obama there I believed the GOP would slip to its standard platform of “whatever the Democrats want is the spawn of Satan and must not pass.”

Apparently underestimating Obama’s ability to disarm his opponents with his speaking skills is not a good idea. With several Republicans realizing how much of the proposed bill is in their favor and some of the Democratic ideas aren’t the spawn of Satan, perhaps there is hope for this country yet.

Besides some epiphanies, Obama has spoken favorably about several Republican health care ideas. An article by the Associated Press stated, “President Barack Obama embraced a handful of Republican health care ideas Tuesday to lure Democratic votes as he prepared to spell out his final package for a sharply divided House and Senate, where its fate is unsure. In a bit of political sleight of hand, Obama said he might include four GOP-sponsored ideas in his plan, even though virtually no one in Congress or the White House thinks it will procure a single Republican vote.”

An interesting if not odd idea, these ideas include removing the extra money Florida Medicare would receive, and the main ideas themselves were “sending investigators disguised as patients to uncover fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid; expanding pilot programs to bring more predictability to medical malpractice lawsuits; increasing payments to Medicaid providers; and expanding the use of health savings accounts.”

In other words, Obama is trying to bring some thriftiness to health care reform. The ideas would likely cut down on some costs. Personally I’m in favor of health savings accounts – if nothing else will get people to save, maybe their health will. But anyway, my point is when the two parties set aside their platforms – and their automatic responses of “that party said it? Then it sucks” – actual work can get done.

This is exactly the reason George Washington was afraid of political parties. I’m a history major, remember? He was worried if parties were created, politicians would line up behind their party platform, refuse to compromise and try to block any change made by the opposite party. Perceptive man.

Obama showed us while the political parties will follow the platform and fight each other tooth and nail, if they are placed in a proper setting with a charismatic and well-articulated person with authority there is hope for getting things done.

While preferable to the Republican strategy of strong-arming their way to reform and problem solving, the biggest problem with the Obama method is it requires a person who is both articulate, well spoken and able to calmly deal with accusations and argument while still delivering the proper weight and, for lack of a better word, punch, to the table.

Such people do exist, just like the speaker who can rile a crowd to do just about anything, or the man who can get an entire room to do what he wants regardless of what’s best for the larger group. All we have to do is find those stoic speakers and give them a chance to succeed.

And yes I am fully aware of how much I’ve been praising Obama recently. I regret nothing; it’s a perk of belonging to a third party.


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