WASHINGTON-President Barack Obama invited all 200 House Democrats to the White House and will meet with them on Wednesday. All 232 House Republicans were invited to a Thursday meeting with the president at the White House. But they all won’t be coming. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said a group of 18 GOP House leaders, including Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) will be attending.So much for Boehner's blathering and stomping feet about how all the Republicans want is a "conversation" with the president. Just at the time the president is offering to converse, Boehner's talking point seems to have changed from "I want a conversation" to "Stop talking to us!"
Boehner's specific response seems to be a complete disowning of his own "let's talk" talking point, as his office complained that talking to all members of his caucus is going to bad for finding a solution to the GOP imposed shutdown and an impending economic catastrophe of default. Whether the claim that the president talking with the whole GOP caucus is bad for solutions is a Freudian slip or an insult directed at the House GOP conference (or both), I leave to the reader to decide.
This was a classic Obama rope-a-dope. Boehner goes around making a fool of himself asking for a "conversation," the President invites his whole caucus to the White House so they can be schooled on what defaulting the United States will really mean, and Boehner does a complete 180 and runs out of the room. "Let's talk." "Okay." "Wait, I didn't mean that!"
The president invited 232 Republicans to talk. 18 are going to show up. That means that 214 members of the Republican conference in the House are either too afraid to talk to the president or being blocked by their leadership from doing exactly what they have been going all over the media saying they want to do, or some combination of both.
What Boehner and Republicans mean when they go around hashtagging "#letstalk" is not that they want to actually talk. They don't want to talk. They don't want to talk if that talk is going to involve an explanation of the consequences of what they are doing. They want to extort the president into dismantling the American social safety net, of which the Affordable Care Act is now an integral part. They want to win at the point of a gun what they could not win at the ballot box.
Well, Mr. Speaker, you can't do that. You can't say "let's talk, but only so long as I get to set the agenda on who gets to talk, what is discussed, and the outcome of the talk."
Here is a chance for the rest of the Republicans to talk to the president directly. Rebuff your leadership. Go to the White House tomorrow, and talk to the president. No one can stop you from doing that. Not even Agent Orange.