"We got the sense that he was very genuine," said Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.). But "if he comes and meets with us like that and it doesn't have an impact, it begins to hurt his credibility."
And, thus, we have it--the outlines of the trap that President Obama has tripped with his neck. This quote, taken from yesterday's Washington Post, betrays more plainly than I ever could, the folly of trying to reach across the aisle to make warm-and-fuzzy with the current stripe of Congressional Republicans. The circus tiger that for years has let you put your head in its mouth and remove it unharmed--but for a little drool that tends to get in your eyes--has now shut its yap--hard. With black suits, spotless white shirts, bleached smiles, and wipe-on/wipe-off suntans, Rep. John Boehner and his minions have made a sucker out of America's smartest man.
It was our President, with his ideology of moderation and compromise, that not only stuck his head in it, but also forced that foul mouth open. His promise of reaching across the aisle gave his opponents, unable to muster even a wisp of a smile during his Inauguration, the means to make meaningless his promise of "change we can believe in". All they had to do was to play along, like the team-players they had neither the inclination or the skills to be, and, when the time came to act-not-yak, unite behind their leader (Rush?) and vote in unanimous opposition to whatever it was that their President wanted. By voting to insure Obama's failure, while praising his "bipartisanship"--and, thus, appearing to be willing to compromise if only the terms were right--they could then say, as Rep. Wamp did, that it was Obama's ineffectiveness in attempting to gain their support--a clear failure of leadership--that was the problem.
It may have been a brilliant strategy for their party, if yet disastrous for the country. I can only hope and pray that the public will see through this cynicism and short-sightedness and punish the tiger by thrashing him within a inch of his life in November 2010.