[NOTE: I'm bumping this up to keep it at the top. Scroll down for newer posts.]
Well, I tried. But a couple of minutes was it for me.
I suspect that the vast majority of people will not be watching this thing, either. A few stalwart (or drunk) souls are liveblogging; the rest will wait for the post-game wrapup, the reviews, and for the MSM to assemble the clips and sound bites that will make their team—Obama and the Democrats—look good, and the Republicans bad.
Will it matter? I doubt it. But like most bloggers, pundits, journalists, and other assorted commentators, I have no idea what plan really lurks in the minds of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid—except that I have come to the point of not trusting a word they say. Mike Allen of Politico quotes an unnamed “Democratic official” that the summit’s theater is designed to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans,” and that it will be followed in due course by a push for reconciliation and passage of the Democratic bill we’ve all grown to know and love so well.
That would be my guess too, but it’s only a guess.
My brief look at the summit revealed that the Republicans, alas, did not follow Newt Gingrich’s gameplan. I didn’t think they would, but I still think they should have. Instead, it has been more of a back and forth, with Obama leading the show and calling the shots, and doing his best to look presidential and as though he’s really listening.
Ace points out that these seem to be the rules:
1. Democrats get more time because “I’m the President.”
2. Republicans may not criticise my bill. They can only talk about things on which we agree.
3. Republicans may not use the word “Washington” because it tips the scales.
4. Republicans may not use or reference an actual copy of the Senate bill. That’s a “prop” and it’s unfair.
Ace also noticed that, when Cantor criticized Obama, the expression on Obama’s face was a “pissed-off grimace.” During the few minutes I watched, I noticed something like that, too, although it was fairly subtle: an impatient annoyance that Obama cannot hide when listening to criticism of himself, try though he may.
Those of you with stronger stomachs than I can watch the rest. Feel free to vent in the comments.
[ADDENDUM: Interesting observation from a comment at Ace's: the Democrats had mostly sob stories, the Republicans had mostly facts. That old heart/mind dichotomy.]