Not to be cynical, but does anyone really suppose that a Republican representative or senator is going to go against the party because Obama gave him a call? The president is charming, all will concede. And his smile, such a delightful reward, tempts one to, well, give a thumbs up. It was fun. It was delicious. But read my wine-stained lips: No new taxes.Parker had to quote a "seasoned insider" to make that point? The "seasoned insider" didn't want to make a point that banal on the record? And Parker is so intent on accuracy that she uses editorial brackets, lest this anonymous person... protest? She lives in an odd world.
“It was nothing but a PR move,” says one seasoned insider. “Obama wants to run against obstructionist Republicans. The fact of the matter is, unless something really bad happens, there’s no reason for [Republicans] at this point to cave on taxes. Why would [House Speaker] John Boehner ever cave on taxes at this point?”
Okay... so why would the President think such an obvious P.R. move were necessary? Perhaps it has something to do with the vast number of her peers who keep talking about "likability" and suggesting that the only reason more isn't getting done on Capitol Hill is that Obama doesn't treat legislators to enough lunches and dinners. (Parker can't pretend she hasn't noticed that phenomenon.) I expect that part of what the President hopes to accomplish is to get that particular faction of beltway pundits to stop droning on about invitations to dinner parties, and to start covering the facts.
Back to Parker's rhetorical question, "does anyone really suppose...", a few column inches away Ruth Marcus supplies an answer:
It is hard to imagine a breakthrough without intensive presidential involvement, which makes the new outreach so welcome. I know Republican senators, prospective members of Obama’s common-sense caucus, who have waited in vain over the past few years for a call from the White House chief of staff, never mind the president himself.So there you go.