We can’t see any evidence that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives compromised their principles in accepting an invitation to the White House to discuss the federal budget with President Barack Obama.
By all accounts, the result was a frank discussion, and after the meeting, key Republican lawmakers appeared before reporters outside the White House and mentioned key points on which they and the president are still far apart. No one could reasonably accuse the GOP lawmakers who participated as being stage-managed by the president.
The simple fact of the matter is that in a representative government, the only way for leaders of opposing parties to work together is to talk to each other.
That basic reality seems lost on U.S. Rep Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, who declined the president’s invitation to attend the talks at the White House.
“I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a president whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt,” Landry said in declining Obama’s invitation.
We believe there are ways to disagree in politics without being disagreeable, and we also think when a sitting president invites you over to discuss political differences, you should accept the offer. Landry is free to disagree with Obama or any other president, but we believe the office of the president should compel a certain amount of respect.
“It is more than a little arrogant,” Norm Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told The Times-Picayune when asked about Landry’s gesture. “It belittles the office of the presidency and shows that Landry has little understanding of the political process, the role of the constitutional institutions, much less basic politeness.”
We agree, and we hope that Landry uses better judgment the next time any president invites him over for a discussion — regardless of who that president happens to be.