Is this a sign of the world coming to an end? Did President Barack Obama slip something into their drinks? Did Obama win them over them by putting a pillow in his shirt and filling his mouth with lobster Thermidor and doing a Michael Moore impression? And what will Rush Limbaugh say?
According to The Hill, GOPers who had dinner with President Barack Obama at a posh restaurant with the guest list selected by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham came out of it — brace yourself — optimistic that some kind of a deficit budget deal can be reached.
Has you-know-where frozen over?
Senate Republicans are more optimistic about the prospect of a grand bargain on the deficit after an intimate dinner with President Obama Wednesday evening in downtown Washington.
Obama and a dozen Republicans discussed a range of issues during a nearly two-hour meal at the Jefferson Hotel, focusing mostly on the budget, the issue that most divided them in the last Congress.
GOP senators say no new policy ground was broken as both sides held fast to their battle-tested positions on taxes and spending, but the meeting helped thaw frosty relations and improve the prospects of a deal eventually.
Now here is a quote from a Senator that the political prognosicators at MSNBC didn’t expect to see: the Senator they suggested would come out and blast Obama didn’t.
Who wrote their predictions? Dick Morris?
“I think really what he is trying to do is start a discussion and kind of break the ice and that was appreciated,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (Neb.), one of twelve Republicans who broke bread with Obama. “Most of the meeting was spent on budget and [finding] a way forward. His goal is ours. We want to stop careening from crisis to crisis.”
Johanns said he is more optimistic of reaching a broad deficit-reduction deal this Congress.
“I think he’s very sincere. I think he wants to try to figure something out. Today was a good step and we’ll see what happens now,” he said.
And what about Obama — who journalists basically say isn’t a great political schmoozer and who supposedly dislikes these kinds of events?
Obama had a good time, despite his sometimes bitter policy differences with Republicans.
“The president greatly enjoyed the dinner and had a good exchange of ideas with the senators,” said a senior administration official.
The White House announced the president picked up the tab and paid for it out of his own pocket.
Perhaps that’s why the GOPers were happy.
It’s too early to tell — and the
professional partisan demonizers and polarizers radio talk show hosts and conservative ideological cable news hosts haven’t started in demanding no compromise, a total win, and/or branding them a bunch of RINOs yet.
But hope springs eternal.
Maybe you-know-where HAS frozen over…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.