Uh oh. Here's where BEING President has all the advantages over NOT being President. It seems the President is going to have a little half-day "health-care summit" at the White House, and he's invited the Republicans to join in. There he is, Mr. Reasonable, once again opening the doors of the White House to the Republican wolves. AND, ladies and gentlemen, the summit will be TELEVISED, just as he said such things would be in the campaign (and the lack of which brought considerable excoriation from the right in the Congressional negotiations). Reasonable once again! What a guy.
Except that there is a trap here, my friends, a huge one. First of all, there's the Home Field Advantage. NO ONE goes to the White House and actually goes at the President--especially on camera. Republicans do so at their own peril.
Secondly, there's the little fact that the President controls the agenda, and he's decided that the starting point in the negotiations are the two bills that passed in Congress---one in the House, and one in the Senate. Never mind that NEITHER had a snow-ball's chance in hell of passing the other chamber. Starting with those two bills puts the Republicans in the position of being the party of NO....something that will not look good on TV.
Can the Republicans not go? Nope. They'd get slaughtered. Can they get the agenda changed? Well, they can try, they can bring pressure through the media (legitimate AND Bought and Paid For) to start from a blank sheet--but they are unlikely to get anything done. So what should the Republicans do?
Send one man up to represent the Party. Just one. Paul Ryan. Not John Boehner, not Eric Cantor, not McConnell. Paul Ryan. He commands the facts better than any of them, and he comes off as reasonable, smart and likable. He knows the numbers, and he knows the Democratic plans cold. Everyone else stays home.