Health care summit a battle of wills

President Obama announced days ago he was planning a televised summit on health care. The summit would seek bipartisan solutions to the health care problem, but its creation seems a strictly partisan move in and of itself.

Obama has publicized the move intensely in the past few days, going so far as to appear in an interview before the Super Bowl concerning the summit. This is a carefully crafted move against the Republicans–Obama wants the American public to see the GOP as obstructionist. He will succeed if the Republicans refuse his invitation, because the public (106 million watched the Super Bowl and, by extension, Obama’s promotion of the summit) would know about it.

Republicans have held out on the summit thus far, calling on the President to scrap the current bill before seeking a bipartisan consensus. They claim the American public has rejected his liberal vision of health reform, and a milder (read, more conservative) solution is required.

The last few days have seen a great deal of posturing on both sides, which bespeaks the politicization of the event. When both sides play the ideological game, it’s the American public that loses.