-- by Dave
According to Fox News, the canceled summit meeting between President Obama and Republican House leaders to discuss the extension of the Bush tax cuts was just a matter of conflicting schedules.
But according to El Hacko Supremo Glenn Thrush at Politico, it's actually about Republican hurt feelings because President Obama supposedly "crashed" a GOP House gathering in January:
The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans.
Obama's last-minute decision to address the House GOP retreat - and the one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush - has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO.
"He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust," said a top Republican Hill staffer. "The Baltimore thing was unbelievable. There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place."
WTF? Are these guys kidding? Or are they just not even bothering to come up with halfway decent lies anymore?
Because not only did Obama kick their asses from Baltimore to Seattle in that meeting, but he did so because he was invited by Republicans who were eager to kick his and massively failed.
Josh Marshall hits this one out of the park:
So was it an ambush? Well, My God, not even close. Here's the press release from Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, thanking the president on January 13th for "accept[ing] our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month." And here's the Politico's write up from January 12th, the day before. In other words, that's more than two weeks before these House Republicans who must have spent the month in a sensory deprivation chamber were stunned to see the president's motorcade driving up unannounced to crash their party. And if they'd forgotten here's the write-up from The Hill the day before the event ...
Emboldened by an unexpected victory in Massachusetts and frustrated with a "partisan" State of the Union address, House Republicans are eager to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday.
So here they are all gunned up and eagerly awaiting President Obama's ambush of them that they didn't know anything about.
And as Marshall explains, this was really about GOP hubris gone bad:
It was clear that for the House GOP this was inviting the president to meet them on their turf rather than at the White House where opposition leaders are always put in a somewhat diminished position just because of the trappings of the place. And by the time the event rolled around, Scott Brown had won the Massachusetts Senate race. So, as The Hill put it, the House Republicans were "eager" to meet with the president.
Only it didn't work out according to plan. The president came, talked, took questions. And with the president there making his own arguments it was much more difficult for folks like Pence and others to claim, unrebutted, that Health Care Reform was going to cost $50 trillion, enforce mandatory castration and have one out of five grannies ritually slaughtered on a stone slab the bend the cost curve for longterm care. Put simply, the Republicans came off looking kind of stupid, unable to make their arguments when the president was there to point out the holes in their arguments. In this case, I was sympathetic to the president and to reform. So I'm sure people who didn't share those sympathies saw the whole encounter differently. But House Republicans' reaction then and now suggests they saw it pretty much as I did -- that the president embarrassed them. Not by crashing the event, or ambushing them. But just because he did better at it than they thought he would and they didn't do well at all. They invited him to make him look diminished. But he ended up making them look unserious and unprepared because they weren't able to respond when he pointed out the holes in their arguments.
All of which means that this whole storyline of the president wrongfooting them or showing up uninvited is made up out of whole cloth. And the real story is that they're not confident it won't happen again if they have some sort of public encounter with him.
I can understand why they want to run. Because face to face with Obama, they won't be able to get with the kind of crap they get away with in the media, particularly on Fox, in evading a simple truth:
Republicans must choose between reducing the deficit and preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy, because they cannot have both. It's a simple impossibility, and they know it, and Obama knows it.
And letting the public see Obama expose their mendacity as thoroughly as he did in Baltimore is something they're going to have to try to figure out before they dare tangle with him again. It will be interesting to see which tactic they deploy, won't it?
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]