Showdown in Baltimore

The President traveled all the way to Baltimore today to meet with a number of Republican lawmakers. What ostensibly was  an attempt for the two sides to listen to one another quickly became something else entirely. I heard some audio from the  meeting that seemed rather pointed and blunt, both in tone and word. For example, “I’m not  a pundit, I’m just the president.” The Associated Press used the phrase ” a sometimes barbed exchange.” So, one thinks that there was very little meeting of the minds at this session.

So, why have the get together at all? I will applaud  the president  for attending while at the same time wondering why he did so. I think that even though  the President was actually invited to what is an annual Republican event.  Given the nature of some of his public comments since the State of the Union address, perhaps it was an attempt to sway public opinion. See, he could tell Americans, I tried to work with the Republicans but  how can I work with the ” politics of no?”

Some of those attending liked it, some not so much. Representatives Tom Price  of Georgia and Jason Chaffetz of Utah being two of the most vocal. The President seemed to relish the give and take, sort of like a British House  of Commons. Reading some accounts of the meeting it struck as me  a lecture given by  a professor. At least one Republican, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin agreed. He likened it at times to being lectured by his high school principal, although not for the entire session.

Obama asserted that 95% of Americans had received tax cuts (not sure about that figure) and that his agenda was not at all radical but mainstream. Republicans , particularly Mike Pence of Indiana ,defended Republican health care proposals against claims that  they had offered no options. Obama shot back that theie proposals  were not practical anyway.

So, both Pence and Virginia’s Eric Cantor said that the event was a good idea and should happen again. But it sounds like to me that the president defined  bi-partisan more as you work with me than me work with you. Did that make sense? Probably as  much as the Baltimore bull session.


January 29, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments