William Branigin, who once wrote a story I was involved in and did it pretty well, had the first full summation of the healthcare summit yesterday on The Washington Post’s website. At least, I think he did. My aging mind, diminished further by a few too many falls off my bike (I am notorious to my friends for my lack of balance), may be failing me here. I would link you to the story, but it now appears gone. I immediately copied the url before I had a chance to write this post. It was http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022502369_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2010022502486. But it now links to a shorter story with different reporters.
Branigin’s story, posted at a few minutes after six o’clock, was a good summation of the key issues and was fair to both parties in summarizing their ideas. But he had this paragraph that I took issue with.
Republicans and Democrats attending the meeting at the presidential guest house across from the White House indicated that they remain far apart on key provisions advocated by each side. There were also major unresolved divisions within the Democratic Party, whose leaders were looking beyond a meeting they expected to amount to little more than political theater and focusing on a final round of negotiations within the party.
Yes, it was political theatre. But who says a good show doesn’t serve some higher purpose. It was a chance for Americans to see the two parties discuss their ideas in the open, face to face. Not a bad practice, even if there were make-up and a little artistic flourish.
Branigin’s use of the phrase suggests a cynicism that I’m not sure all Americans share. We say we want to see folks talking with each other. Why dismiss it, as if to say, “Folks read no further; there’s nothing here to read”?