Politico has revealed why Republicans canceled the meeting with President Obama at the White House scheduled this weekend. According to the report, the Republicans are still upset that President Obama embarrassed them on January 29th of this year at their retreat in Baltimore. The article quotes a top Republican hill staffer as saying that the President has “a ways to go to rebuild trust” after “the Baltimore thing.”
Almost everyone has forgotten about the President visit to the Republican retreat, but evidently the GOP members have a long and bitter memory. President Obama was actually invited to talk with the Republican caucus in the middle of the health care reform debate. A few days before the visit the White House asked that cameras be allowed to stay on while the President took question from the GOP members. The Republicans agreed to this request. When he came the Republicans proceeded to try and embarrass the President with a number of “questions” which were framed in such a way to bring out their talking points and corner the President. However, the President proved to be a better debater than they thought. He pointed out the factual errors in many of their questions, at times by using accurate and complicated statistics from memory (contrary to the common teleprompter myth). Nearly every analysts, including Republicans, agreed that the President got the better end of the debate even though he was literally taking on the entire Republican congressional caucus. Many saw the event as the turning point in the health care debate when the President took on some of the myths about the reform.
President Obama hardly “tricked” Republicans into meeting with them. He was invited to visit with their caucus and it was the Republicans who made the meeting contentious with their pointed questions (video to the left). The President’s unforgivable crime seems to have been his mastery of the facts at the meeting.
What is even more puzzling, however, is the fact that Republicans still have not gotten over the embarrassment. Like a high school teenager who can not get over being embarrassed at the prom the Republicans seem stuck ten months in the past even as the country faces significant problems in the present. The GOP so distrust the President that they are not even willing to meet with him for fear that he may once again expose them with logical argumentation. If this is the kind of leadership we can expect from Republicans as they take over the House we truly all should fear for our future. While Americans need jobs, the Republicans number one goal seems to be extracting revenge for a losing in the health care reform debate.