President Obama had just agreed to House Speaker John Boehner’s request to include a Republican policy rider to ban taxpayer funding of abortion in Washington, DC, but Boehner wanted more: to defund Planned Parenthood.
The response from the president was blunt.
“Nope. Zero,” the president told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. “And then the Speaker tried to engage it.”
“Nope. Zero,” the president replied again. “He was like, ‘John, this is it.’”
“There were a good 10 minutes of just sitting there of everybody looking at each other,” the aide recalled. “I mean, it was like, there’s nothing to do here. The store’s closed.”
“It was awkward, like, what do you do now?”
You know what’s awkward? Being told to be relieved to find a vestigial remnant of a spine where a real one should be. Well that and two men deciding whether they could settle for symbolically allowing women to be insulted rather than just going ahead and punishing them outright.
Sure, Barack Obama’s negotiating strategy is to meet other side 95% of the way there rather than take even a permeable line in the sand…as an opening bid. However, you can count on him, when the chips are down, to barely lift a finger…sometimes not the middle one.
Now shut up base and give him money! This kind of compromise doesn’t come without costs.