The unbelievably bad optics of tossing barricades in front of aging war veterans, combined with the stinging criticism of Chris Christie, may be forcing some movement in the White House on the shutdown showdown. President Obama has called for a meeting this afternoon at the White House with leaders from Congress, in both parties.

A White House official says President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday for a meeting on the government shutdown.

The official says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been invited to the meeting. The official says Obama will urge the House to pass a spending bill to allow the government to reopen.

No Rep. Eric Cantor? Hm. The Republicans who attend, whom the president will suspect of having bombs strapped to their chests if we’re to take his rhetoric seriously, will be outnumbered in hostile territory.

Word has already gone out, though, that the president still won’t negotiate. That begs the question, is this afternoon’s meeting nothing more than a photo-op? Are the Republicans going to be drawn to the White House, reminded that Obama won one of the thousands of elections that took place across the nation last year and is thus entitled to have everyone else just do what he wants, and then shown the door — to be ripped again in the media later?

Probably. But the Republicans have to attend to make a show of it all and use the opportunity to remind everyone that they have offered a range of compromises while the Democrats have turned the National Park Service into their policy enforcement shock troops.

Or, they’re still not learning that Obama’s idea of negotiations doesn’t fit theirs.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck released a statement welcoming the invite: “We’re pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible. It’s unclear why we’d be having this meeting if it’s not meant to be a start to serious talks between the two parties.”

You assume too much, Mr. Buck. Obama may realize that he has overreached on the World War II Memorial, but that does not guarantee that he will negotiate in good faith. He has yet to do that in nearly five years in the presidency.