Thankfully the current revival of President Obama’s Charm Offensive is not a theatrical production, because the reviews are decidedly mixed. Seeing him furiously pirouette around Washington for the last two weeks like a carnival contortionist makes you wonder if he might be secretly setting up a post-presidential career in a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil spin-off.
POTUS is reportedly reaching across the aisle in a last ditch attempt to resuscitate his budgetary Grand Bargain, but chances still remain stuck in the Potomac Triangle of slim, none and get the heck out of here you silly, silly man. The Triangle is that undefined swamp in D.C. where compromise is a four-letter word and serious discussion mysteriously disappears amid the scuttled rubble of naïve politicians.
Right now the gulf between House Republicans and the Oval Office is so wide they can’t even see each other due to the curvature of the earth. The ice caps may be melting but only in direct inverse proportion to the polarization occurring in American politics.
Some folks question the very existence of the Obama Charm School. But it’s over in the same wing as the George W. Bush Think Tank. Just a couple doors down from the William Jefferson Clinton Marriage Counseling Service. One floor up from the Mitch McConnell Touchy Feely Workshop.
Paul Ryan lunched with the president last week, then immediately turned around and introduced a budget that calls for the repeal of Obamacare and replaces Medicare with vouchers. Again. Of course, Senate Democrats countered with their own budget that actually adds spending over 10 years. Both sides are stuck in a loop larger than the London Eye. Lessons learned from the 2012 election: None.
To say Republicans remain skeptical is like implying the surface of the sun is toasty. Or suggesting old white men have a slight edge in papal elections. Finding horsemeat in Swedish meatballs might entail avoiding furniture wholesalers when addressing nutritional needs.
Obama’s staff claims this offensive charm of his is not new, but part of a long-standing operation. Five Republicans even admitted to being invited to the White House to watch the movie “Lincoln,” but all declined. Of course, you know what they were thinking: “Black guy -- Lincoln-- it’s a trap!” If only he had screened “Life of Pi.” Everybody loves man-eating tigers. Especially Southern Republicans and Vegas magicians.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, can’t we all just get along? Obviously the answer is “No!” We don’t do olive branches. This is more about thorny rose stems.
The president doesn’t seem to get it either. You can buy them lunch, let ‘em sleep on your couch, wash their poo-poo undies in the sink, throw surprise birthday parties complete with pony rides and Bouncy Houses, co-sign a loan for their summer home on Chesapeake Bay, but in the end it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing. Vote, that is.
Doesn’t matter how much schmoozing goes down, unless you find a way to muzzle the home-district pit bulls on their right, you might as well blow those flirty kisses at a brick wall. Save the chocolates and flowers for Michelle. Could come in handy, especially after you break the news about moving to Vegas.
Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at email@example.com. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast.