Something tells me that Barack Obama may have launched this effort just a few days late:

House Republicans don’t take power for another three weeks, but the White House is already engaged in a behind-the-scenes charm offensive designed to build relationships with incoming committee chairmen before they become powerful adversaries.

So calling them “hostage takers” was some sort of compliment?  Maybe that’s what passes as praise in Obama’s progressive circles.

The GOP chairmen are getting congratulatory phone calls from President Barack Obama, and private meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Attorney General Eric Holder. The incoming Agriculture Committee chairman, Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), is setting up a regular monthly lunch with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House’s efforts moved into high gear shortly after the Republican victory on Election Day.

How do those calls go?  “Congratulations, and let’s talk ransoms”?  Do the invitations for lunch consist of plain paper with cut-out lettering?  Just curious.

And while Obama launches his “charm offensive” privately, he says something else entirely in public (via Jim Hoft, emphases his):

As fellow Democrats accuse him of caving in to Republicans on the tax cut deal, President Obama is repeatedly promising them that he will fight the GOP aggressively when it takes over the U.S. House and adds senators next month.

“I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I’m itching for a fight on a whole range of issues,” Obama said last week. “I suspect they will find I am. And I think the American people will be on my side on a whole bunch of these fights.”

Er, didn’t Obama have a chance to have the fight he was itching for last week?  And didn’t he punt it for another two years?  That can be called a lot of things, including “offensive”, but “charm” isn’t one of them.