Leadership: Obama rejects McConnell's offer to meet with GOP on debt ceiling

It was Drudge, I think, who first drew the contrast this afternoon between O’s approach to dialogue in this story versus this one. Doesn’t it make sense, though? From the White House’s perspective, one involves a group of power-hungry fanatics who pose a potential threat to western civilization, and the other involves the Muslim Brotherhood.

But remember, he’s the adult in the room.

One of President Barack Obama’s 2012 themes will likely revolve around what his aides call “the contrast” — a portrayal of Obama as a responsible, moderate adult harassed by infantile Republicans who favor the wealthy…

“Leaders are going to lead, … that’s why they are called leaders,” he added, making an unmistakable reference to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who withdrew from the negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden last week…

Another GOP aide was more blunt. “It’s counterproductive schoolyard crap. … [It’s] awfully childish for the ‘adult in the room,’” the aide told POLITICO.

So saith a guy whose habit of “leading” by handing off important agenda items to congressional Democrats is now so infamous that even David “Pants Crease” Brooks is writing critical columns about it. To be fair, though, I’m not sure he had much choice here: His base is grumpy that the Democrats have already all but agreed to $1 trillion in cuts with little in return by way of new revenue, so he needs to be recalcitrant with Republicans to make it look like he’s drawing a line in the sand. And it’s not like anything productive comes out of his meetings with the caucus. The last one was famously “chilly” and involved Paul Ryan scolding him about his Medicare demagoguery, which might have been productive with a president who wasn’t focused utterly and exclusively on his own reelection. As it is, when it comes to Mediscaring, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Click the image to watch.