MSNBC probably ought to reinstate Mark Halperin.
The White House effectively turned down an invitation by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for President Barack Obama to visit his members on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss raising the debt limit.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, while not directly saying the invitation had been rejected, said Obama did not need to hear Republicans tell him what they would not support.
That, Carney said, was “not a conversation worth having.”
That was today. What was yesterday?
I met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each — Republican senators, Democratic senators; Republican House, Democratic House. I’ve met with the leaders multiple times. At a certain point, they need to do their job.
And so there’s no point in procrastinating. There’s no point in putting it off. We’ve got to get this done. And if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done.
They’re in one week, they’re out one week. And then they’re saying, Obama has got to step in. You need to be here. I’ve been here. I’ve been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You stay here. Let’s get it done.
So, how do you square that one?
Yesterday, Obama goes on and on about how he’s here and let’s get it done, as though he’s done jack diddly poo about the debt ceiling other than send that old “Big F-ing Deal” retard to negotiate it. Today, when the Senate Republicans want to sit down with him to get it done, he sends his press flunky out to say it’s not a conversation worth having.
Optics aside, what this really comes down to is a message to the Senate Republicans that they don’t matter. Obama doesn’t think they’d filibuster a debt-ceiling deal, and so he thinks it’s cool to dick Mitch McConnell over.
Naturally, this exonerates Jeff Landry in toto. Landry might have taken some rhubarb from some quarters for telling Obama to pound sand rather than sit through the president’s lecturing on the budget, but the president’s decision to throw good faith to the wind where McConnell and his people are concerned makes Landry look like Emily Post.
There are a few other ways to look at this stuff. One I’m kicking around in my head is that Obama is about to cave big-time. This is the same kind of incendiary rhetoric and petulant dickishness he sprayed out before he surrendered on the Bush tax rates, and it’s not dissimilar to the way he acted in April before the deal to avoid the government shutdown.
This is about throwing out a bunch of tough talk that the legacy media will highlight in talking about how strong a leader he is in battling the Republicans, and so create the impression among people who don’t pay attention to politics that Obama is in charge and doing a good job, and then when those people don’t pay attention to the ultimate deal they’ll think Obama won.
Anybody who pays attention knows the president got his dick handed to him in both of those negotiations, but people who pay attention are either Republicans, a group from whom Obama will never get a vote from again if he ever did, or Democrats who have noplace else to go. It’s the middle, made up of people who know diddly poo about what’s going on in the world, that Obama is trying to fool.
I don’t particularly think this is going to work, mind you, and as I said
Earlier today I threw out another possibility – namely that the Republicans might consider giving Obama exactly what he wants for about 18 months so he can choke on what happens when you raise taxes in the middle of a depression. Bad for the country, sure. But only in the short term – if you can get a few hundred billion in spending cuts out of the deal and Obama’s stupid policies in application means the economy goes even further in the toilet between now and Election Day, then not only does he get annihilated but a good many Democrat senators and Congressmen get blown away as well.
Because you can’t blame Republicans for a bad economy when they merely stand aside and let Obama have his plan. Those results are on Obama.
And if he chokes on the results, as I’m pretty sure he will, then in January 2013 a Republican president can push a pro-growth, simplified tax structure through an overwhelmingly Republican House and Senate along with even steeper drawdowns in the size and scope of the federal government.
For historical reference, see 1921.
But that might not be necessary. Like I said above, Obama may be about to cave. The antics of the last couple of days might be a smokescreen in advance of it.
And McConnell would probably be happy if that’s true, though it hardly takes the edge off the ridiculous posturing he had to put up with from the president today.
UPDATE: Allahpundit has pretty much the same take – namely, that Obama’s about to cave…
To be fair, though, I’m not sure he had much choice here: His base is grumpy that the Democrats have already all but agreed to $1 trillion in cuts with little in return by way of new revenue, so he needs to be recalcitrant with Republicans to make it look like he’s drawing a line in the sand.