A delay in the White House’s bipartisan confab

A DELAY IN THE WHITE HOUSE’S BIPARTISAN CONFAB…. President Obama had scheduled a gathering at the White House for this week, featuring the leaders of both parties in both chambers. Yesterday, the meeting some reporters are calling the “Slurpee Summit” was postponed until Nov. 30, with congressional Republicans citing scheduling difficulties.

That, at face value, wouldn’t be especially interesting. Meetings in D.C. get delayed all the time. But Politico reported last night that the postponement is the result of still more petty nonsense.

The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans.

Obama’s last-minute decision to address the House GOP retreat — and the one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush — has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO.

“He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust,” said a top Republican Hill staffer. “The Baltimore thing was unbelievable. There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place.”

Now, the Politico piece has since been republished with a different lede, not because Republicans changed their story, but because the reporter realized the GOP version of events was demonstrably false.

Regardless, it’s worth appreciating how bizarre this is. In January, House Republican leaders extended an invitation to the president, and he accepted. The arrangements were made weeks in advance, and Obama showed up on time, as expected. That Republicans would characterize this as a “last-minute decision” to “crash” their gathering suggests GOP officials have suffered some kind of head trauma. That Politico published their plainly untrue version of events without checking isn’t much better.

But putting aside the fact that GOP memories have manufactured imaginary developments, what on earth does this have to do with the discussion scheduled for this week? Mitch McConnell postponed a meeting in November because the president made House Republicans look foolish in January?

At some point, it’d be great if the GOP leadership realized that Congress is not a junior high’s student government.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.