The president and both parties' leaders were supposed to meet at the White House on Thursday night for a "summit," where they would fight each other to the death, with the winner becoming Emperor. So which scaredy cats backed out?

Now Republicans postponed this meeting to November 30 for "scheduling issues," which probably means that they'd prefer to keep watching Democrats in Washington in-fight themselves to death before putting any skin in the game. Hey, it's worked for two years! But Republicans also tried to dupe reporters with other, more anonymous reasons for this cancellation. As usual, Politico was there to help last night:

The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans.

Obama's last-minute decision to address the House GOP retreat - and the one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush - has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO.

"He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust," said a top Republican Hill staffer. "The Baltimore thing was unbelievable. There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place."

So they are trying to blame their cancellation of Thursday's White House summit on Barack Obama, who broke the "trust" in January by getting uppity and crashing their private meeting, which is simply not done — a breach of etiquette! — and will take a long time from which to recover. But as TPM's Josh Marshall shows, however, this is complete trash — the House Republicans had invited him to address them at their private retreat and he'd accepted, days earlier. This was widely publicized and Republicans were "excited" to get in the room with him, until he dared make them discuss policy details. So the Politico story looks much different now.

Here's the next two years, which will be much like the last two years, but with less pressure and more sadness: Leaders of the two parties probably won't ever sit down together, even in private. But they will gladly leak their anonymous spin about canceled sit-downs to gullible reporters! Sheesh. Gridlock will not gridrock.

[Image via AP]