The Lion just watched Mr. Obama’s meeting with House Republicans in Baltimore. Well, they were in Baltimore and The Lion was ranting from his recliner on Cape Cod. The wonders of television, you know.
This meeting put Mr. Obama, alone, at a microphone in front of the entire Republican caucus. He gave a short speech and then took questions.
Anyway, the so-called questions started off with Representative Mike Spence of Indiana supposedly positing a question. What he actually did was parrot a scripted talking point designed to embarrass the President.
At that point The Lion slammed his finger onto the remote control off button, cursed roundly, and left the room. Unfortunately The Lion is somewhat weak-willed, and after heating up some nice Italian wedding soup, he turned the fool box back on and watched the rest of the Republican charade.
No point in rehashing the details. The major points to take from the exercise were that the Republicans apparently comprise a bunch of adolescents, and that Mr. Obama would appear to be smarter than the whole Republican caucus, and a better, more decent, more civil human being than any of them can possibly claim to be.
The Republicans’ questions were so obviously scripted, so obviously intended to trap or embarrass the President rather than elicit a genuine give and take, that The Lion almost felt like feeling a bit of sympathy for the Republicans. Loyal readers will be glad to know that The Lion did not give in.
The most embarrassing performance was given by a woman Representative from Tennessee. She gave a five minute speech in such an annoying tone, and so far out of bounds for the purpose of the meeting, that Mr. Obama at one point tried to break in, but she just kept rolling along, spewing distortion after deceit after misinformation on her way to a proforma question.
Mr. Obama, to his credit and as he did during the whole session, called her out on her twisting of fact. He did not back down once during the whole meeting, and he called out individuals directly when they tried to lie or distort. Time after time he pointed out that what they were saying was factually wrong. Over and over the Republicans claimed none of their ideas were heard, and time after time Mr. Obama gave them chapter and verse on where and how their very ideas were incorporated into various legislation.
Mr. Obama turned the Republicans’ transparent deceit against them in this very public forum in an act of political ju-jitsu. It was enough to restore some of The Lion’s lost faith in the man.
The President’s goal for this meeting was to restart a civil and productive conversation between the parties for the purpose of solving the country’s problems rather than positioning themselves for the next election.
The Republican goal for the meeting was to embarrass the President by pushing talking points rather than opening an honest give-and-take.
Obama seemed to sincerely want a legitimate conversation. The Republicans wanted nothing more than to score some public relations points.
The Lion would like to see Mr. Obama prevail and the government return to a legitimate and productive process of governing for the people.
The Lion also believes, as he has for some time, that the Republicans have no interest in legitimate and productive government, which is no surprise since they have shown over and over that they are incapable of governing beyond the level of the tribes in Lord of the Flies. Today’s performance by the Republican tribe proved that.
If you missed the live telecast, look for it on the web. It’s well worth watching, and, at its core, far more exciting than anything else you’ll find on television.