The White House has been putting out word recently, as it does at the beginning of every year, that this time, finally, at last, President Obama is going to work closely with Congress to get things done and find areas of common ground and so forth.
But that’s really just for laughs. Obama has no intention of doing anything much with Republicans. It’s very inconvenient to hold meetings, twist arms, build relationships and forge coalitions, and Obama is temperamentally unsuited to such political grunt work, which is why he’s never really done it. And he won’t this time.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today inadvertently gave up ruse in answer to a question by AP’s Julie Pace, whose very first question at the first briefing of the year was about whether Obama had talked to any Republicans recently or had any plans to.
Julie, I don’t know of any presidential calls that occurred while the President was in Hawaii. I believe that both the President and the incoming Senate Majority Leader were spending some downtime with families over the holidays.
But I would anticipate that the President will have an opportunity to sit down with congressional leaders in the first couple of weeks that they’re back here. I don’t have a specific date at this point, but I would anticipate that that’s something that will happen if not this week, then the week or two after that.
Nope, no meetings scheduled to try to usher in this latest new Era of Cooperation and Goodwill. Not even a phone call to a Republican from Hawaii. Only call I know of he made to a member of Congress from either party was to Harry Reid after Reid fell off an exercise machine and broke his face.
Instead, Obama will be doing his usual dog and pony show this week, flying out to Michigan to talk to autoworkers about the autowonders he has performed for them and then to Phoenix and Tennessee to speak to typical Obama-style audiences of gullible school kids.
Tipping Obama’s true hand again, Earnest offered up some of the usual pablum that has signaled massive unilateral activity by the president:
We’re going to look for opportunities to work with Republicans to make progress on those priorities. And where Republicans don’t agree, you’re going to see the President take decisive action to make progress on his own where he can.
Yes, you will we see the president do this where he can, and, where he perhaps can’t, as well.