President Obama can’t win. On the one hand, he is a detached chief executive who neither reaches across the aisle nor knows how to govern. On the other hand, he’s a manipulative genius intent on luring unsuspecting Republicans into political traps. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) is among those Republicans in the latter category.
As we know, comprehensive immigration reform is a priority for Obama. And I thought it was also one for the GOP. At least it was in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election. So, it makes sense the president would reach out to Republicans to talk about it. But during a radio interview Wednesday with Laura Ingraham, McCaul said, “I was invited to the White House yesterday, and I refused to meet with the president because I saw it as a political trap.” McCaul is dead set against a conference committee on the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate in June with a hefty 68 votes.
During the government shutdown, Obama invited all 232 members of the House GOP conference to the White House to discuss the budget crisis. Speaker John Boehner opted to send only 18 of them, mostly from the leadership. Now, I’m old enough to remember the days when an invitation to the White House to meet with the president was a clear-your-calendar occasion. Not anymore.
Obama is not a fan of backslapping bonhomie, that hallmark of deal making that has folks harkening back to the days chronicled by Chris Matthews in his book “Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked” on the relationship between President Reagan and the late-Speaker Tip O’Neill. But the continual disregard for Obama and the office he holds also makes accomplishing anything damned near impossible. If only there were a grown-up in the Republican Party who understood this or, for that matter, cared.
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