House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) sent a letter to the White House yesterday, stipulating some preconditions for Republican participation in a bipartisan health care meeting proposed by President Obama. Boehner and Cantor’s letter said that unless Obama was willing to scrap the current health reform proposals, Republicans “would rightly be reluctant to participate.” Their letter was met with some derision from conservatives, who called it “silly” and “politically dangerous.” The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent reported today that Republican insiders said it was unlikely their leaders would follow through on their bluff. Indeed, appearing on Fox News this afternoon, Cantor backtracked on his letter. “We’re going to show up,” he said. Fox host Jane Skinner observed that his letter to the White House “wasn’t in the tone of bipartisanship.” The segment concluded:
SKINNER: But again, quickly, you’re showing up to this televised thing, right?
CANTOR: Absolutely. Republicans have always said, we stand ready and willing to work with this President.
Cantor has stood “ready and willing” to obstruct health care from the beginning. He has been unable to offer any compromises that the GOP would be willing to make; he has lifted Frank Luntz’s language on how to kill reform; and, he has even advised his constituents to seek out “charitable organizations” if they’re in need of medical care.