President Obama ramped up his GOP charm offensive last week with lunch and dinner dates with congressional Republicans. But really, it was all just the appetizer.
Like the Flaming Lips once said: “The test begins … now.”
That’s because this week could well reveal more than any period since the president was reelected about whether the White House and Congressional Republicans can even begin to talk about working toward a landmark deal to rein in the nation’s deficit or whether efforts will, once again, fall short.
And given both what’s happened before and what’s coming up, there are plenty of reasons to have more faith in the latter scenario — at least for now.
Let’s start with what’s coming up this week. Obama is slated to meet with Congressional Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, following up on the more informal meetings he hosted last week. Given the extent to which relations between GOP leaders and Obama have deteriorated over the years, this is a rare occasion. And it’s one that could mark the last best chance to kickstart talks. If post-meeting chatter is positive from both sides, it will bode well for bipartisanship. If not, the ship could be sunk before it leaves port.