GOP Plays Petty Games, Ditches Obama ‘Slurpee Summit’
November 17, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—-A meeting with President Obama and a number of Democratic and Republican leaders, dubbed the “Slurpee Summit,” scheduled this Thursday, has been postponed by Republican leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY) and Rep. John Boehner (OH), due to “scheduling conflicts.” Right. You would think with all of the problems facing our nation, and the constant bellyaching by Republicans that Obama isn’t bipartisan enough, that Boehner and McConnell would at least show up at the request of the Commander in Chief. But no, not when the GOP’s agenda consists of petty games and political score keeping. Besides the obvious snub by McConnell especially, who has vowed to topple the Obama presidency, there may be something else at play here as well. With the White House and Democratic lawmakers all but capitulating on the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, there is nothing to be gained from a presidential meeting now, with Republicans already smelling blood. Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (MT) and Harry Reid (NV) signaled yesterday that they would agree to a “compromise” on temporarily extending the tax cuts across the board.
The meeting has been postponed until Nov. 30. According to statements from aides to Bohner and McConnell, Obama’s invitation wasn’t definite enough.
“At the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner due to scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses, the President’s meeting with bipartisan leaders will now take place at the White House on Tuesday, November 30th,” read a statement released by the White House.
“Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky lawmaker, said in an email that there had never really been a firm date. ‘We’ll have a meeting so that we can discuss issues that Republicans have long said can be accomplished together,’ his message said. ‘These include reducing spending, growing jobs through increased trade and increasing domestic energy. The Leader is encouraged that the President wants to discuss these areas of agreement.”
Notice in McConnell’s statement, nothing is mentioned about the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Why? Because they already believe they have won that battle.
Adding to the obvious game-playing by McConnell and Bohner is a ridiculously gossipy article filled with falsehoods published by The Politico, that has since been edited, quoting unnamed Republican staffers who attribute the Obama snub, to when President Obama supposedly “crashed” a Republican meeting in Baltimore last year.
“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.”
Well, the problem with The Politico’s stenography, is none of the above is true. The reality is, the GOP invited Obama to the meeting well in advance. There was no crashing by the President.
Steve Benen of the Political Animal nails it:
“Now, the Politico piece has since been republished with a different lede, not because Republicans changed their story, but because the reporter realized the GOP version of events was demonstrably false.”
“Regardless, it’s worth appreciating how bizarre this is. In January, House Republican leaders extended an invitation to the president, and he accepted. The arrangements were made weeks in advance, and Obama showed up on time, as expected. That Republicans would characterize this as a “last-minute decision” to “crash” their gathering suggests GOP officials have suffered some kind of head trauma. That Politico published their plainly untrue version of events without checking isn’t much better.”
This whole escapade is a reminder of how impossible it is to negotiate with a Republican Party that not only deals in bad faith, but operates in a totally different non-fact based reality.