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When All Else Fails, Kowtow


But if the "charm offensive" works, it will probably come with a cost to people who want to see Obama sow dissent within the GOP -- and, of course, to regular people as well. Obama's offer to GOP leaders already includes a Social Security benefit cut. Republicans know that. If it were good enough, the deal would've been cut by now. This back-channel strategy is how harsher policies like an increase in the Medicare eligibility age re-enter the debate.

Yes, it might ultimately divide the GOP and isolate House Republicans. But that's probably less important in the end than the fact that Obama is acquiescing to the unchanging nature of the Republican Party. And instead of hoping sequestration will ultimately force the change he wants to see, he's making one last attempt to end run around its leaders -- at an unknown policy cost -- before sequestration settles in for real.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com