In anticipation of the February 25 bipartisan health care summit, numerous conservative commentators have warned that the summit is a "trap" or a "setup" for the GOP.
Conservative media warn that health care summit is "trap"
Thiessen: "[T]he Blair House summit is a trap." In a February 23 Washington Post opinion piece titled "Obama is the real obstructionist at his health-care summit," columnist Marc Thiessen wrote:
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says of this week's bipartisan health-care summit: "Sounds like the Democrats spell summit: S-E-T-U-P." He's right -- the Blair House summit is a trap. If the objective really was to produce bipartisan compromise, Obama would not be using legislation crafted in a backroom that got virtually no Republican votes as the basis for the discussions. Nor would his Secretary of Health and Human Services have declared last week that the White House is still willing to fight for a public option, a proposal that died because of bipartisan opposition in the Senate.
Pruden: "Barack Obama has laid a not-so-clever trap in this week's 'health care summit.'" In a February 23 Washington Times column, editor emeritus Wes Pruden wrote, "Barack Obama has laid a not-so-clever trap in this week's 'health care summit,' and it doesn't take someone smarter than a Republican senator to figure out how to escape from it." Pruden added that the summit will be a "photo op" in which President Obama will be able to make Republicans uncomfortable before stating:
The White House mocks the concern that Mr. Obama has laid a trap by drawing up the revised Obamacare before he goes through the motions of making irrelevant small talk with the Republicans. The president's press secretary buries objections under a tub of the usual rhetorical blubber, asking ever so innocently how the trap is a trap.
Limbaugh: "[T]his is nothing more than a trap." During the February 8 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated that "the Republicans have to be very, very careful here because this is nothing more than a trap." Asserting that "[t]his is no time for bipartisanship," Limbaugh added, "This is a setup because Obama wants to be able to blame this on the Republicans when in fact it is his own party that's been saying 'no' to itself."
Johnson Jr.: "Rush is right. Of course it's a trap." On the February 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy had the following exchange with Fox News contributor Peter Johnson Jr.:
DOOCY: Alright, Peter, Rush says it's a trap, but aren't most situations in politics a trap?
JOHNSON JR.: Yeah, Rush is right. Of course it's a trap. There's such a deep chasm and wide chasm over the goals and the objectives of health care reform in this country. But it's also a great, great op for the Republican Party and for all Americans. You know, Congressman [John] Boehner's [R-OH] written a letter to Rahm Emanuel laying out what needs to be done and we've got to have this and we've got to have that.
DOOCY: We've got to start from scratch.
JOHNSON JR.: That's fine. Well if it's truly bipartisan then there has to be a consensus building and it's based on starting from scratch. But the President's not going to start from scratch.
Napolitano: "I am in full accord with Rush Limbaugh on this, that this is a trap that he's setting for the Republicans." On the February 10 edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano stated:
NAPOLITANO: The only thing you can do with the Republicans is make them look bad. I am in full accord with Rush Limbaugh on this, that this is a trap that he's setting for the Republicans. He will look presidential and open-minded and they will look narrow. I've said it before and I say it again: when the train is going full-blast towards socialism, the best thing the govern -- the Republicans can do is be the party of no and to stop that train.
Tantaros: "Republicans must proceed with caution. This is a trap." In a February 9 FoxNews.com column, Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros warned that "Republicans must proceed with caution. This is a trap." Tantaros later added:
The setting of another televised meeting also benefits Obama more than it helps Republicans. It's called calculated political window-dressing, and Team Obama has a black belt in the sport.
The President knows he's the better orator and will make Republicans look like a bunch of stone-walling, puerile jerks in the process - much like he did two weeks ago when he visited House Republicans at their Baltimore retreat. There, he lambasted them for saying no to his policies and chastised them for not cooperating - all in front of the TV cameras, even though Republicans had already put forth ideas and were ignored all along.