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Tuesday, November 30

Naming the Terms

In 1938, Czechoslovakian President Eduard Benes was not a very happy man. You see, he had a restive, fractious minority of Germans in the north and west of his country (an area called the Sudetenland) that the neighboring Germans were whipping up into a frenzy. These neighbors were demanding more autonomy for the Sudeten Germans, and were vocally calling for war in order to achieve that aim.

Exasperated, Benes called in the leaders of the Sudetenland and presented them with a piece of paper. The paper was blank, except for his signature. Benes offered them a pen and insisted that the faction's leaders name their terms.

That didn't save Benes, or Czechoslovakia. By the end of 1939, the Sudetenland was part of Germany, Slovakia was an "independent" state, and the rest of the country had either been absorbed by its other neighbors or turned into the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia." Benes was forced into exile.

Today President Obama hosted the leaders of the incoming GOP leadership for the House of Representatives at the White House for a luncheon and to talk things over.

I'm NOT saying that he is analogous to Eduard Benes.

NOR am I saying that John Boehner is Konrad Henlein.

But based on Obama's repeated bending in favor of the GOP in order to pursue some gratifying illusion of "bipartisanship," I am wondering just one thing:

Was there a blank piece of paper with Obama's signature on the table?

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