If a casual observer were to watch President Barack Obama’s speech today to House Republicans, they might walk away thinking that the minority party hasn’t offered up any ideas to fix the problems that plague America.
But if that casual observer stuck around for the questions and answers, they would have seen an entirely different picture – a conservative party standing up to the President and making it clear that they do, indeed, have ideas but that their message has fallen on the President’s (and liberals’) deaf ears. The problem for the President is that the conservative message is resonating with America, as evidence by Scott Brown’s stunning electoral victory in Massachusetts’ Senate race.
On the subject of health care, the President said that he didn’t get “a lot of nibbles” when he attempted to work with Republicans on the issue. But bipartisanship is a two-way street, and as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) made clear to the President, her party has offered a slew of ideas. The trouble is, liberal leadership isn’t listening.
As Rep. Blackburn said:
We have over 50 bills … we’ve got plans to lower cost, to change purchasing models, address medical liability, insurance accountability, chronic and preexisting conditions, and access to affordable care for those with those conditions, insurance portability, expanded access, but not doing it with creating more government, more bureaucracy and more cost for the American taxpayer …
And if those good ideas aren’t making it to you, maybe it’s the House Democrat leadership that is an impediment instead of a conduit.”
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), too, confronted the President on bipartisanship when he recalled the President’s service with Rep. Roskam in the Illinois legislature. Roskam told the President (as seen in the video above):
You took on ethics reform. You took on some big things.
One of the keys was you rolled your sleeves up, you worked with the other party, and ultimately you were able to make the deal.
Now, here’s an observation.
Over the past year, in my view, that attribute hasn’t been in full bloom. And by that I mean, you’ve gotten the subtext of House Republicans that sincerely want to come and be a part of this national conversation toward solutions, but they’ve really been stiff-armed by Speaker Pelosi.
Now, I know you’re not in charge of that chamber, but there really is this dynamic of, frankly, being shut out.
And shut out, too, are the American people, who have been taking to Tea Parties, townhall meetings, and the Massachusetts ballot box in protest of a runaway liberal Congress that is steering the country in the wrong direction.
As much as the President would like to paint Republicans and conservatives as the party of “no,” his spin sounds quite hollow to an American public that sees the reality of their government through quite a different lens.