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Robert Goodwin

Robert Goodwin

Robert J. Goodwin is CEO and co-founder of Executives Without Borders; former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force and appointee at USAID, the State Department and the White House.

Ready for a walk-out

This week's health care summit presents Republican leaders with a difficult choice: (1) agree to support a plan that might be modestly changed to accommodate their ideas; or (2) oppose it on principles as too costly and intrusive and use the issue to try and gain political advantage in November. Which strategy offers them the best prospect of regaining power?

At this point in what has been a bruising public heath-care debate, Republicans need to engage even though a true compromise seems unlikely - especially given the fact that the White House seems more intent on scoring a much-needed political win than reaching bipartisan consensus. Why else would the Obama Administration introduce a bill that already appears set in stone just days before a summit is to take place?

Before extending any olive branches, Republicans need to know precisely what planks in the president's platform are up for debate. Thus far, the White House communications team hasn't adequately answered that question.

That said, however, Republicans do need to be wary of being labeled the "no" party. Opposition for opposition's sake isn't good for the country and won't be good for their party come November. While many Americans have expressed their displeasure with the current bills in local town hall meetings and with the election of Scott Brown, this cake isn't quite baked. As such, Republicans need to be prepared to share their own ideas and the logic behind their lack of support for the current components of the president's bill.

Finally, Republicans should also be prepared to walk out of the summit if it becomes evident that the gathering is little more than a PR stunt. Such a brash move could bring with it some short-term criticism - but would make sure they are not complicit in the passing of a bad bill. Ultimately it is a delicate balance. The American people want to see work getting done in Washington, but it must be a quality job.

By Robert Goodwin

 |  February 24, 2010; 7:42 AM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I AGREE WITH "shadowmagician"

Posted by: nizami_13 | February 25, 2010 7:53 AM
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I AGREE WITH "shadowmagician"

Posted by: nizami_13 | February 25, 2010 7:52 AM
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Mr. Goodwin: comedians are writing on your comments site. I haven't had this good a laugh in some time.

You called it exactly as it is. The meeting is pure honey PR, produced by the White House, to make the bitter pill of a tax hixing, scarcity inducing care reduction bill go easier for the Americann people who have been saying no to this since summer.

My only regret is that the GOP could find itself hoodwinked by the human embodiment of form over substance. I gratefully cede that moniker to the Democrats.

If they had even a modicum of substance that correlated to voter sentiment, they wouldn't have to use Nixonian Parliamentary tricks to pass it on a party line vote, where they will still lose seven Democrats in the Senate.

The GOP may have lost its way and the people's support between 2006-2008. But the path home doesn't mean choking on fresh Obama debt and reckless government interventions in personal medical decisions, or mandating my coverage or the fee I'll have to pay -- or else.

They have a ways to go before they earn a majority that may just fall to them based on colassal Democratic governing incompetence and arrogance.

But at least someone is talking for the American people.

The Administration and Democratic leaders could only wish so much.

Posted by: CoughlinC | February 24, 2010 9:30 PM
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The writer seems to think that the health bill was just written in the past week and the Republican's have had no opportunity to comment. They have been discussing this bill for nearly a year with all sorts of compromises befitting the right included.

If left to their own, the D's would have been pushing much more for a public option or Medicare extended plan. That still may be in cards since the R's have basically said that they will not support any plan whatsoever.

Finally, if I remember correctly, in 2008 this country elected a full slate of Democrats to run our government. The Republican's did not win so they don't get the right to dictate. If they don't wish to vote for an issue that was widely identified in the last election campaign as the most pressing issue facing this country, aside from terrorism, then they have that right. It will only serve them later to be known as the party who refuses to govern.

The writer is correct on one issue and that it will be a political stunt by Obama. He will note that the bill is full of Republican recommendations and amendments.

Posted by: pdt278 | February 24, 2010 12:56 PM
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By all health care outcomes measures the US is ranked 37th (behind most of the industrialized world). Our inefficient health care system consumes 17% of the GDP, leaves 47 million uninsured and 1.5 million Americans unlucky enough to get sick go bankrupt.. The MOST expensive health care systems in Europe consume 11% of their GDP. They cover everyone and no one goes bankrupt because of illness.

The difference between 11% and 17% of the US GDP ($14.4 trillion, 2008) is over $850 billion. So theoretically, if the US switched to Single Payer (which for some unarticulated reason was taken "off the table"), our health improves, everyone is covered, and – IT PAYS FOR ITSELF!

Let’s have a reality check. Eight years of Republican leadership has left America choking on a $12 trillion national debt, a $787 billion taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, 10.2% unemployment and two wars of astronomical costs whose purposes are still unclear, with no end in sight.

Middle America wants jobs, fiscal responsibility, affordable healthcare and quality public education for its children, none of which were delivered under a Republican administration and Republican Congress. Republicans had eight years to produce for America and they failed. A walkout from this conference would only confirm their stubborness and indifference to the American people they claim to represent.

I've been a Republican for 32 years and voted for Obama in the last election with no regrets.

There were numerous reasons which caused me to vote for Obama: (1) the need for Health Care Reform; (2) need to pay for new services with higher taxes on the rich; (3) misguided foreign policy on Iraq; and (4) the Republican bailouts of Free Market gurus on Wall Street.

Republicans would have to progress a long way for me to vote Republican again.

This would involve admitting they were wrong on a lot of issues, something they have yet to do.

Posted by: shadowmagician | February 24, 2010 9:29 AM
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