Wednesday, March 6, 2013

President Obama works on developing a common sense caucus

There have been many times over the last few years that President Obama's strategy for getting things done has been broadcast out in the open and many people still fail to see it. We're seeing that once again with his efforts to develop a "common sense caucus."

For some background on this, you can read what I've written here and here.

And now the New York Times has a few more details.
With Republican leaders in Congress forswearing budget negotiations over new revenues, President Obama has begun reaching around them to Republican lawmakers with a history of willingness to cut bipartisan deals.

Mr. Obama has invited about a dozen Republican senators out to dinner on Wednesday night, after speaking with several of them by phone in recent days, according to people familiar with the invitation. And next week, according to those people and others who did not want to be identified, he will make a rare foray to Capitol Hill to meet separately with the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

Since the weekend, the president has called at least a half-dozen Republican lawmakers, mostly senators, in a bid to revive talks toward a long-term deficit-reduction agreement and to press for action on other issues, including immigration, gun safety and climate measures...

Administration officials take Speaker John A. Boehner and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, at their word that they will not cut any revenue deals with Mr. Obama given the two men’s separate political pressures — Mr. Boehner would lose his leadership post, Republicans say, and Mr. McConnell could draw a conservative opponent in his re-election race next year...

Senate aides familiar with the talks say Mr. Obama is telling senators that he wants to convene bipartisan discussions at the White House, a departure from the more typical meetings between him and party leaders.

“The president is engaging with lawmakers of both parties and will continue to do so,” said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. Repeating a phrase the president first used recently, Mr. Carney said the outreach was the president’s way of “finding the members of the caucus of common sense and working with them to bring about a resolution to this challenge.”
Because the DC village media is so obsessed with how much the President is or is not fraternizing inside the bubble, folks like the authors of this NYT piece are mostly writing these stories from the angle of "the President is finally talking to Congress."

But notice the first paragraph in the quote above where it talks about going around Republican leaders and the one where there's reference to administration officials recognizing the political pressures on Boehner and McConnell. The White House has realized that there is no use in talking to these two because they're not going to budge. What they DO see is a possibility of splintering off enough sane Republicans to get a House majority and perhaps override Senate filibusters.

So while most of the media is paying attention to what the Republican leadership says and/or the inane utterances of the lunatic caucus, President Obama is working on an end-around those folks. Keep your eye on this prize folks.

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