Pundits are skeptical about whether President Obama will be able to charm Republicans into agreeing to a "grand bargain," but Republicans have plenty of tips for the president for getting a deal done. One tip, for example, goes something like, "Agree with all the things we want to do, and stop trying to get us agree to the things you want to do."
Obama met with House Republicans Wednesday in a "closed-door" meeting, which many of them live-tweeted. Though Republican leaders told them to not act like fanboys behind closed doors — no asking for autographs — the lawmakers presented a unified unimpressed face. Many told reporters how Obama was getting his charm offensive wrong, and explained what the president should do to get Republicans. As the president heads back to Capitol Hill on Thursday to talk both the Senate Republican Conference and the House Democratic Caucus, here's some of the GOP's very sincere advice on making a deal with the GOP:
Offer concessions to Republicans
Republicans were annoyed that Obama scheduled a fundraiser for the post-campaign group Organizing for Action on the same day as his meeting with them. What Obama said to OFA would indicated whether he really wanted to make a deal, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris told Roll Call. Obama should tell OFA "that you have to actually concede issues to the other side."
He did not.
Do not ask for concessions from Republicans!
"If the president wants to let our unwillingness to raise taxes get in the way, then we are not gonna be able to set differences aside and focus on what we agree on," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Roll Call.
"The president seemed to say, 'If we're going to do the areas we agree on, you have to also do some of mine,'" Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma told The New York Times. "If we can find the areas we agree on, why can't we just do those?"
"Well, he doesn’t want to balance the budget in 10 years, and he wants tax increases, and he wants new spending," California Rep. Darrell Issa told reporters. "But other than that, we're close."
They are not.
Don't try to win the war of public opinion against Republicans.
"I think the skepticism on our side is, this guy really likes taxes," Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy told The Daily Beast. "Having seen him pillory the Romney-Ryan plan and get re-elected on that kind of demagoguing of the issues, there's some skepticism that he's not setting us up to demagogue it again."
Don't watch TV to see if you're winning that public opinion war.
"I find him to be quite interested in politics. You don't usually expect the president to use such specific, partisan political imagery," North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer told The Daily Beast. "I was like, 'Wow, really?' I don't even have time to watch Fox News…I actually found him to be more of a political junkie than someone would expect someone at his level to be.
It's hard not to agree with Republicans here, actually: If Obama agreed to all these terms and conditions, he could quickly reach an agreement with the House. But that wouldn't be much of a bargain.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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