President Barack Obama has been adamant over the past week: He will not under any circumstances give in to the Republicans on the government shutdown. At least that’s what he has said.
In reality, however, he has already budged. He’s willing to give in to certain aspects of the GOP’s most liberal-friendly proposal, but only if they agree to raise the debt ceiling. Naturally, the Republicans refuse to do that.
This is why we are where we are today.
Over the past few days, President Obama has been praised by left-leaning outlets, and lambasted by right-leaning ones, for not officially being willing to negotiate with Republicans. Among his harshest critics have been Charles Krauthammer, Paul Gigot and rest of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, Fox News, etc. crowd.
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On Wednesday, Politico reported that President Obama apparently hosted an “off-the-record meeting with five conservative journalists” yesterday. As noted by Dylan Byers:
Present at the meeting were Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor; Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editorial page editor; Robert Costa, the National Review's Washington editor; syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker; and Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting.
The fact that this hush-hush gathering took place is interesting. That being said, it doesn’t really mean all that much. Krauthammer holds zero sway over the GOP these days; he is viewed as a John McCain-esque moderate among the Tea Party crowd that now controls what direction the Republicans go in. If he were to come out in favor of any proposal that even partially gives the POTUS what he wants, he’d be dismissed immediately by the right. Same goes for all the other attendees.
More likely than not, President Obama didn’t meet with these guys to push a message. Rather, he was probably trying to get a feel for what conservatives might consider a legitimate compromise, so that he can go back to his people and try to make it a reality.