Yes, President Obama moved the date of the speech to acccomodate Boehner's demand. I predicted that he would not, that he would fight. I was wrong. My idea on that was summed up in a comment by joanneleon in another diary:
I didn't understand why they chose to schedule the speech in conflict with the Repub debate in the first place. There's no way that was a mistake. It was an aggressive act, a show of power.
So why did they do it? To provoke the Repubs into an aggressive response?
Makes no sense. Don't make the aggressive move unless you plan to hold your ground.
It just makes no sense.
But the entire controversy shows something else.
If you did not know by now, bipartisanship is impossible with the Republican House. Steve Benen says it well:
Remember, this is just about picking the date for the speech. It’s like arguing about the shape of the table before sitting down for negotiations. What possible chance is there for Washington to approve meaningful economic legislation if there’s a dramatic showdown over scheduling? That’s a rhetorical question; the chances are zero.
The chances are zero. Zero. Nada. The empty set.
Here's Benen's understanding of how the "speechdate" controversy happened:
Accounts differ as to exactly how this fiasco occurred, but it appears the White House consulted with congressional leaders before the announcement and, according to Democrats, chose Wednesday. Republican leaders didn’t object at the time, which the White House interpreted as acceptance. GOP officials then said they hadn’t actually agreed to Wednesday, leading to Boehner’s letter yesterday afternoon.
It was, according congressional historians, the first time in American history the president requested an audience with a Joint Session, only to have the Speaker balk.
"The White House interpreted as acceptance." Better get it in writing.
But the bigger lesson is bipartisanship is dead. It has been since January 2009. It never was alive. Bipartisanship usually is just another word for Democrats deserting their principles to support Republican policies. See, e.g.,Iraq AUMF, Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
There are real and deep differences between the parties (with the exception of blue dogs and DLCers). As Democrats sought compromise since January 2009, the Republicans kept moving the goalposts to the right, the extreme right. Soon Democrats offered moderate Republican polices, only to be rebuffed. See, e.g., health care reform, defict plans. It's a losing strategy and we have been losing.
The empirical data for the last two and a half years is in. The way of the past two and a half years in dealing with Republicans is not working. There is a vast right wing conspiracy. There are red states and blue states. And bipartisanship will not work when one party only seeks to defeat this President. It's pragmatic to admit when something does not work and try something new. I hope for pragmatism from this White House.