Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama's Got Work to Do, Says Joe Barton (R-TX)

Speaking of the Heritage Foundation, Republican Representative from Texas, Joe Barton, is a guest blogger over there, writing about Obama's health care objectives:

The president also said that “not a dollar of the Medicare Trust Fund will be used to pay for this proposal.” What the House is doing is rather different. H.R. 3200 cuts $400 billion from the Medicare program to finance this new proposal. A Republican amendment directing that any savings to the Medicare program be used solely to improve the access and affordability within Medicare was defeated with just one Democrat voting for it.

So it’s hard not to conclude that contrary to what the president said he wants, many Medicare dollars will be used to pay for the Obama health care program.

The argument Barton makes is worked out through some pretzel logic. Republicans know that their constituents - older, white - support Medicare and therefore they tip-toe around a position of supporting the entitlement, making it more efficient, and denigrating Democrats for trying to achieve health care for all Americans, even the brown ones. They also know that health care reform and the president are very popular.

Barton goes out of his way to not slight Obama; rather he saves his vitriol for congress:

President Obama has made some forthright and specific promises about what his health care package will and will not do, but simply saying so doesn’t make it so. He has a big job ahead convincing his congressional supporters to match their actions to his stirring words. I hope he succeeds, and I’m ready to help him.

This sort of cooperative mouth service would carry father if Republicans actually were willing to look at true compromise, not their own unhelpful version thereof. Putting a foot down and expecting your opponents to meet you there is not compromise.

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