How much time did Barack Obama spend in a “meeting” with GOP lawmakers on Thursday to look for an alternative to sequestration?
Seven minutes. That’s how serious Obama is about any compromise. He’s not even interested in whether sequestration does or does not get implemented. He’s only interested in one thing, as GOP strategist Steve Schmidt pointed out. Schmidt said succinctly, “It is a sincere conviction among Republicans that the president’s negotiating posture isn’t about getting a deal done, it’s a zero-sum political game where his aim is to destroy the Republican [House] majority in the next election. It’s certainly not an effective strategy for a leader in search of a deal.”
In the fiscal cliff battle, Obama hardly met with the GOP, preferring to campaign directly to the public. Republican strategist Whit Ayres, noting Obama’s take-it-on-the-road antics to strike fear in Americans about the coming budget cuts, said, “The president is really good at campaigning and really bad at governing. So he’s doing what he’s good at.”
He sure is. Frightening the public with threats of airport delays, poorer border security and thousands of teachers losing their jobs has been the mantra for Obama for weeks. Then he had the audacity to say this on Tuesday:
I’m not interested in playing a blame game. All I’m interested in is just solving problems. I want us to be able to look back five years from now, 10 years from now, and say we took care of our business and we put an end to some of these games that maybe, I guess, are entertaining for some but are hurting too many people.
But Schmidt said that this time, Obama’s stonewalling may backfire:
Republicans gave in on the higher tax rates on the revenue front, but that doesn’t mean a permanent acquiescence on these issues. The president is beating Republicans in a public argument, but in fact Republicans are highly likely to retain the [House] majority because of demographics and where the competitive races are. If you’re lurching from crisis to crisis, people eventually get numb to it. There’s a ‘boy who cried wolf’ quality to it.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s aides said Obama didn’t bother calling McConnell until last week about sequestration. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the seven-minute meeting with Speaker John Boehner and McConnell only consisted of Obama speaking of his “anticipation” of Friday’s photo-op with congressional leaders as sequestration is implemented.