Via MFP, no incandescent moments of candor in this one but interesting nonetheless as a glimpse into the GOP’s messaging. If you’re wondering why Paul decided to invite the entirety of the Senate for coffee today, this is why: He thinks the Democrats are torching their shutdown PR advantage by constantly reiterating that they won’t negotiate. The lefty base might enjoy seeing them take a hard line but the White House’s media campaign depends upon the GOP being seen by the broader public as the ones who are obstinate and obstructionist. Paul’s trying to seize the opportunity by making Republicans, by contrast, look like they’re bending over backwards to encourage negotiations. A quote from his appearance on Fox News this morning: “We would get more done if we had a little more interaction between the two of us.” That also explains, I assume, his surprising support for a short-term CR to re-open the government for a week or two while negotiations continue. That’s going to be his message from now on — negotiations, negotiations, negotiations. The more reasonable he and the rest of the GOP appear to low-information voters, the greater the chance that the public will start to view Obama and Reid as the key stumbling blocks in all of this and thus the greater the pressure on them to make a deal will grow.

But … a deal on what? Robert Costa quotes a “senior Democratic source”:

Boehner raised the prospect of a grand bargain-type deal at the White House meeting and was laughed at because everyone feels like they’ve heard this song and dance before. The general feeling is, if he’s really ready to make some tough choices – read, revenue – then great. But the history of this from where we sit is Boehner talking a big game, then bailing as soon as he runs into the inevitable resistance from a certain faction in his caucus. So we will believe it when we see it, but are proceeding under the assumption that this is just more of the same big talk, no walk.

The GOP has less than two weeks to come up with a new grand bargain which, unlike all the abortive grand bargains of the past two years, will need somehow to be agreeable to O and congressional Democrats. Paul himself said yesterday that he feels no great pressure to raise the debt ceiling since, after all, Treasury takes in enough revenue to cover America’s monthly debt payments and legislation could order Treasury to prioritize — an interesting strategy, but not one that’s likely to bring a panicky media around to his view that the GOP’s the more reasonable of the two parties right now. Exit quotation from GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Update: And here’s O himself speaking this morning and making Paul’s job a little easier: