I think that this quote by Dave Camp, House Ways and Means Chair, helps illustrate the exact nature of Obama’s fairly disastrous gaffe Wednesday:
“But then I thought, maybe if I can’t figure out who to call, they need to call me,” he said. “It’s their agenda they need to get through the House.”
Background: as my readers probably remember, Camp, House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, and House Republican Conference Chair Jeb Hensarling were all invited Wednesday to President Obama’s combined collection of platitudes/attempts to bully his political opponents. As the three Republicans were not expecting the latter – it’s bad form to attack other people when they’re in a position where basic politeness requires them not to answer in kind* – they’re kind of ticked off. Ryan in particular has not been shy about saying so; and at this point it’s starting to look like any input by the White House into the upcoming budget negotiations will be as welcome as Nancy Pelosi’s – which is a polite way of saying that the White House’s input will not be welcomed at all.
If you think that this is a suboptimal result for the Obama administration, you are correct – but it was probably inevitable. The White House has still not learned to play well with others; and it’s starting to look like it is fundamentally incapable of grasping that the days of full Democratic control over the federal government are now over. While being publicly rude to the opposition may gather support among the mouth-breathers (whose support for this administration is, admittedly, a little shaky itself these days), it doesn’t help get President Obama what he should really want: a budget deal that he can take partial credit for right now, and run on next year.
But I suspect that the President actually wants to run again on his favorite campaign message of I Am The Only Grown-Up In The Room; it’s a real pity for his sake that Obama has nobody to take him aside and gently tell him that such a message is neatly subverted when one instead insists on publicly acting like a petulant man-child. Particularly when it’s towards people like Camp, Ryan, and Hensarling – none of whom have any personal stake in bailing President Obama out…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Not that this administration cares overmuch for social niceties. I was going to add “…except for people who might give them money” – only, no, they’re generally rude to those people too. Sometimes I think that the number of people on this planet that the White House takes seriously could be counted on one’s fingers.