President Obama meets Republicans and comes out smelling like a rose.
Today it was remarkable to see that just after a very articulate and poignant State of the Union delivered by our President on Wednesday, he visited House Republicans at their retreat and answered their questions directly for most of an hour. It was an honest and unscripted discussion where the President took their questions and concerns seriously, acknowledged where they had valid points, and explained genuinely where he felt they were wrong. And there was plenty of it from the President. He set them straight on many issues they have been misrepresenting for all of his first year in office and that have caused such rifts and erosion of confidence. And guess what? He didn’t have a teleprompter!
Basically he told them that they were to blame for boxing themselves in and making it impossible to have any meaningful exchange of ideas because they had been painting him as some kind of “Bolchevik” who was trying to institute this totalitarian system upon the American people; when in reality the very things that he has been prescribing were at one point or another the same centrist issues and ideas that Republicans were proponents during the Clinton effort to reform Health Care.
I am sure that the Republicans are not going to ask the President to return and have another one of these exchanges because it proved to be devastating to their agenda. The President not only stood his ground but called their bluff and pointed out where and how they have been wrong all along. Republicans simply can’t afford to have themselves be belittled by a President they invited to come in expecting for him to grovel and walk out with his tail between his legs in defeat and humiliated.
President Obama was brilliant again and now I think he is finally fighting. Perhaps a year too late; perhaps a bit too tardy to get any kind of sensible Health Care legislation but the Republicans have met their match and he has exceeded it. It was a “mistake” to allow cameras to roll while he did this.
In short, it was something that for many Americans has seemed all but inconceivable in American politics -- a real discussion with honest disagreements about the challenges we face. And something that has been long overdue: the debunking of their lies and talking points to confuse and motivate the ultra-right base. That is clear that they may no longer be able to afford to do.
So, Teabaggers, where do you stand now? What lies are you going to tell? Are Republicans going to close the gap between rhetoric and reality?