There seems to be some movement in Washington. Perhaps this is the lull before the storm of ideas as to how to proceed on the Continuing Resolution to fund our government and what to do about the debt ceiling.
Yesterday Barack Obama met with House Democrats in the White House. Today Obama is meeting with 18 House Republicans in the White House. One would hope that Obama wouldn't invite these Republicans to the White House only to tell them that he isn't going to talk. After all, that's been the line for the last few weeks: Obama and the Democrats refuse to negotiate. Period. End of story. But perhaps declining poll numbers (Obama's approval ratings has slipped to just 37%) has forced the Democrats to come to the table. The Daily Caller points out that George Bush had a higher approval rating that Barack Obama at this point of his presidency. The Democrats and the administration realized that their approach isn't working and the American people are noticing.
According to National Review, the list of House Republicans meeting with Obama in the White House today are as follows: Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, McMorris Rodgers, Walden, Lankford, Jenkins, Foxx, Southerland, Wagner, Roskam, Sessions, Ryan, Camp, Upton, Hal Rogers, Hensarling and McKeon. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't deeply skeptical of this meeting; I hope it is because the President is serious about finally negotiating and not just for a photo op. It's possible that he could emerge from this type of meeting to say, “See, I've shown my willingness to talk to the other side of the aisle but they won't budge.” You are right, Mr. President. When it comes to funding our government and ObamaCare, the GOP must hold the line. We will fund every other aspect, except for this train wreck that even Obama-media types like Wolf Blitzer admit need to be delayed a year. ObamaCare is not ready for prime-time and I think Obama's insistence that it go forward is also weighing down his poll numbers. Americans are seeing that Obama's political scoreboard outweighs common sense. Americans are seeing that liberal, big-government programs aren't as great as they were promised. After all, the taxpayers have spent $634 million on a website that they had three years to build and yet still doesn't function properly! That's government at its finest. And then adding insult to injury, Americans are still required to use this website (even if it doesn't work) or eventually face a penalty for failure to sign up.
Rep. Paul Ryan has come up with basically a two-step plan to move things forward. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ryan proposes a plan to open the government and increase the debt limit while finding common-ground on long-term entitlement and tax code reforms. Some would consider this a “grand bargain,” and fear that conservatives will be played by the Democrats, agreeing to fund the government and increase the debt ceiling while never getting their long-term reform promises from the Democrats. This is a distinct possibility, because we've seen it happen before. Other conservatives were upset that Ryan failed to even mention ObamaCare as a piece of a his strategy to end this stalemate. Does this mean that the GOP would be giving up on its effort to defund or delay ObamaCare? Not according to Ryan, who has responded to the critics by explaining that he considers ObamaCare to be a part of entitlement reform.
Today we are heading that Republicans will offer a temporary increase to the debt ceiling without additional conditions.
What's clear is that this shutdown hasn't worked out the way Democrat PR strategists thought it would. What's also clear is that the Democrats made it a point to maximize the amount of pain inflicted upon the American people as a result of this Obama-Reid shutdown. The optics of these shutdown stories along with the embarrassing rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges has people in America shaking their heads. Washington is making themselves look like fools, and Americans do not suffer fools gladly.