Even when dining with Obama, Republicans know the prix-fixe is always in.
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In short, the Wednesday dinner smells (over the lobster) like fear. Fear by Obama that the public may be, even if extremely slowly, catching on to who and what he really is. Fear that demonizing the Republicans for everything is no longer a workable tactic after so overplaying his hand on the sequester. Fear that his dream of taking back control of the House of Representatives, even though the election is nearly two years away, may already be slipping through his fingers.
Now let’s talk about the Republicans. They were absolutely right to accept the invitation to dinner with the president. It is good politics and at least offers an opportunity, however remote, for better governing than we’ve had in the last few years. But they need to recognize and take advantage of the president’s implicitly admitted weakness.
The image of the dinner will make claims of the Senate GOP being obstructionist slightly harder for Obama to prosecute, though he will certainly continue with that line of attack whenever he thinks it might help him.
While it is unlikely that anything said by the most pro-liberty attendees such as Senators Johnson and Toomey actually penetrated Barack Obama’s consciousness, blockaded as it is by a force field of intense statist ideology and Keynesian econo-ignorance, anything that helps the two sides understand each other better — even as people rather than simply on a policy basis — is an exchange worth having.
But Republicans should remember that this president has demonstrated an approach to political debate much like the Qur’an’s approach to honesty: it is permissible to lie to those not already of the faith (leftist in one case, Islamic in the other) in order to further the cause. The Qur’an says that if your intention is the furthering of Islam, “Allah does not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths.” Similarly, neither the “mainstream” media nor most Obama voters will take Democratic politicians to task for prevarications, lies, and all sorts of shenanigans (remember “deem and pass”?) if done in the name of liberalism.
Another Islamic lesson which Republicans, who have been outmaneuvered by Barack Obama far too often, should keep in mind: The Qur’an says that believers should only have friends among unbelievers for the purpose of “guarding” against them, as a form of security, much like Michael Corleone’s sage advice to “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
The senators who broke bread with Barack Obama must never forget that to him, they are the enemy. Not the loyal opposition. Not people with an honest disagreement. Not negotiating partners. The enemy. To be manipulated until they can be finally and permanently defeated.
After the meal, Senator Lindsey Graham encouraged Barack Obama to continue the conversation, raising the image of Ronald Reagan reaching out to Tip O’Neill. An important difference, however, is that Obama is not reaching out to congressional leadership but rather to rank and file, perhaps hoping to peel some votes away from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (despite Boehner’s being perceived by many conservatives as already too willing to compromise.)
One wonders whether a sincere effort to work with Senate Republicans would include GOP leadership, yet not one of the five senators listed as GOP leadership on the Senate’s web page was invited to the meal. Particularly knowing this president’s history, the Wednesday fine dining and Thursday’s Ryan repast are more likely political tactics and photo-ops than an honest change of heart or mind.
There is good news: On Wednesday, for the first time in his public life, President Obama decided not to stick other people with the costs of his living large. And in case you had briefly forgotten just whose side the press is on, both the CBS News and NBC News websites led the dinner story with the headlines “At GOP outreach dinner, Obama picks up the tab” and “Reaching across aisle, Obama picks up tab at dinner with GOP.” Oh, the humanity.
And in another first for his presidency, Barack Obama seems to have found a fairly good deal: The prix-fixe dinner at Plume is only $85, plus a $5 supplement for the foie gras, quite a bargain for a fine meal in Washington, D.C. But then, spending one’s own money rather than everybody else’s does tend to instill a little discipline, doesn’t it, Mr. Obama?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online