President Obama and Republican congressional leaders emerged from a high-profile Tuesday meeting with "gracious words" but no concrete agreements. The two sides did say they would hold more discussions this week on extending Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year. Obama and incoming House Majority Leader John Boehner both said Democrats and Republicans must work together to find "common ground." Is that a sign of progress, or was the big meeting really a bust? (Watch Obama's comments about the meeting)
It was a meaningless charade: It was appropriate that this was called the "Slurpee Summit," says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post. The name refers to the campaign line that the GOP stood on the sidelines "sipping Slurpees" while Democrats tried to fix the economy — but it's doubly fitting because the meeting, like a Slurpee, had "no nutritional value." Both sides spouted platitudes about working together, but no one showed any real leadership.
"A summit of empty calories"
Just talking nice is a sign of success: In today's toxic political environment, says Michael Scherer at Time, the mere fact that both sides say they should work together offers a "glimmer of hope." It's "a small step, for sure, but it was by no means a certain one after the midterm election blowout." And the agreement on a negotiating plan for extending the tax cuts is a "tangible" sign that Republicans and Democrats alike know voters want them to cooperate.
"A Slurpee summit, sans Slurpees, yields some good will"
Now we need tangible results: If Obama and his fellow Democrats still dig in on tax cuts and continue their "class warfare games (Tax the Rich!)," says Ron Christie at The Huffington Post, the whole exercise will have been a failure. "Here's hoping the president will make good on his promise to change the tone in Washington...."
"The leadership summit that wasn't"
This was about spin, not substance: Democrats will now push a so-called compromise, says Allahpundit at Hot Air, "caving on tax cuts for the wealthy ($250,000) but insisting on tax hikes for the very wealthy ($1 million)." But despite the "pleasantries," prominent members of each party are making it clear that "compromise is unacceptable." So the next two years will be about "narrative-shaping for 2012," with Democrats blaming gridlock on "Republican spitefulness," while the GOP blames "Obama's refusal to heed the results of the midterms."
"Video: Obama/GOP Slurpee summit a big bag of nothin'"