Last week I said I was skeptical of Barack Obama's sudden outreach to congressional Republicans. Today I have an op-ed in Politico arguing that a couple of hours of "outreach" can't negate five years of demagoguery.
But you don't have to take my word for it. In the past 24 hours, there have been several media reports indicating that Obama's outreach efforts are less than sincere.
Ron Fournier, a veteran political reporter, was told by a senior White House official, "This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours. I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you."
Did you get that, my friends? White House officials view the outreach as a "waste of time," and they are only doing it to impress the media. That shows you not only how cynical this White House is but also how gullible the liberal media are. Obama goes to one dinner and most Washington reporters start gushing about a "charm offensive."
But behind the scenes few are being charmed. In fact, a top Senate Democrat leadership aide told Politico, "Nobody is even talking about a grand bargain. It is not even on our radar right now." Why not?
The Politico report persuasively argues that Obama made a big mistake in forcing Republicans to swallow a tax increase in the fiscal cliff deal. Riding high off his reelection victory, hubris got the better of him and Obama's strong-arm tactics poisoned the atmosphere on Capitol Hill.
Obama thought Republicans would cave again on the sequester cuts, but they did not. And looking ahead to the 2014 elections, there is no way they will approve another tax increase.
So why is Obama even bothering to go through the motions? The polls.
Fournier reports that the White House's own internal polls showed Obama's numbers have been dropping for some time. At least two public media polls have confirmed the trend.
Whatever political capital Obama had after his reelection victory is gone. Now Obama is scrambling to undo the damage in order to salvage his plans to take back the House of Representatives in 2014.