Thursday, March 7, 2013

Negotiating Over Dinner?

Rand Paul took the rare and risky measure of filibustering in an effort to illicit an answer from the Administration on a critical stray from the Constitution – drone strikes on American citizens in America.  In a show of solidarity with Paul’s historically lengthy (almost 9 hours), and audacious move, twelve Republican Senators went to dinner with President Obama.   Alright, so there may be another term more appropriate than “solidarity” to describe their exit stage left – still, surely they must have wished him well while out dining and pretending to be negotiating spending cuts with Obama.  Or, perhaps they were more inclined to demonstrate solidarity with Obama than with Paul.

What were they really doing?  The media is painting a rosy picture of this momentous dinner and sells it as proof of effort from the President, and evidence of how far he is willing to go to make a deal and be accommodating, or reasonable.  Adulation from the Washington Post is typical, “The GOP’s tax orthodoxy remains too strong, and the fear of conservative primary challenges too fresh, for a bit of outreach to wildly change the odds. But at least the president will have done everything he can, and everyone — including many Republicans — will know it.”
Obama goes to dinner with 12 Republicans and this is going to accomplish the goal of an agreement on real spending cuts? Not a chance.
Lindsey Graham SC
Bob Corker TN
Kelly Ayotte NH
John McCain AZ
Richard Burr NC
Saxby Chambliss GA
Dan Coates IN
Mike Johanns NE
Pat Toomey PA
Tom Coburn OK
Ron Johnson WI
John Hoeven ND,  and Barack Obama, WH,
. . . . all collectively accomplished exactly what?
  1. A crowd does NOT negotiate anything.
  2. A meaningful negotiation is held between two or three, not a baker’s dozen and its entourage.
  3. Over dinner  that baker’s dozen might as well be a throng treating itself to a pointless Party on the taxpayer’s dime.
  4. A dozen Republicans showing up for dinner shows pandering, not reasonableness in negotiating.
  5. A dozen Republicans showing up for dinner gifts the tax-and-spend President the photo op he needs.
  6. A dozen Republicans showing up for dinner lets Obama off the hook and out of the corner he’s in, providing him fodder for more tales he can then tell to the media which is more than willing to applaud.
Does anyone really believe this dinner will lift gridlock and move Obama from his ideological stance? . . . . Well, other than the media? It seems more and more of the public is disbelieving.
Dinners are used for stimulating or promoting familiarity.  These 12 don’t know who Obama is yet? Four years and this bunch is still not clear? Serious and meaningful negotiations are done in a boardroom in private, or in a cave in the hills, but not over a lavish dinner with a parade of limousines and security agent Escalades putting on a very public exhibition of extravagance.
ABC views this particular performance as marking a new approach for Obama.  Really?  How insightful is that? Some hard negotiations are mandatory, not just necessary, to bring spending under control.  We shall not hold breaths for fear of turning blue on the outcome of this new outreach.

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