Romney and Obama greet each other at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner - October 2012. Image Washington Post
President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will meet for lunch today at the White House and the Press is full of speculation as to the reasoning behind such a meeting, in an attempt to explain why the President would sit down for lunch with his former rival.
The Boston Globe suggests that this is a normal course of action post election, for the victor to invite the vanquished to lunch, which is historically accurate. However, pointing to past meetings, such as G. W. Bush inviting Al Gore to lunch after winning a Nobel Prize, do not give credit to either the President or Mitt Romney given today’s economy and the great partisan divide that exists in the nation.
The Daily Beast (Newsweek) gives Romney back-handed complements, ending by suggesting he is out of a job, therefore the lunch is to his benefit. Apparently, those over at “the Beast” don’t read the Boston Globe. That article notes that Romney has rented office space in Boston, suggesting he is not about to retire anytime soon.
The problem is the conundrum faced by a left-leaning press dealing with a President who, for all intents and purposes, no longer has to please his base, but can, instead focus on the nation and his legacy. Therefore, if the President takes a path that is contrary to left’s conventional wisdom (i.e. supporting Israel’s right to defend itself), dispatches Clinton to the Middle East to broker (buy) a temporary truce, one hears – crickets, except for the venom on the right. (Venom over sending dollars to the Palestinians (Hamas) suggesting they will rebuild in six months with taxpayers dollars and attack Israel again! The problem with that logic is that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, agreed to go along with a brokered peace.)
Why on earth would Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have lunch, if not for Obama doing what all Presidents have done since Jack Kennedy (Boston Globe) and Romney being out of a job (The Daily Beast)?
For starters, recalling the October annual Alfred E. Smith dinner, a charitable event where both Obama and Romney roasted themselves and each other(Washington Post) the wear and tear of the campaign was evident, but, in closing statements, both men were extremely generous to one another, suggesting that, regardless of the outcome of the election, there was a mutual respect. Contrary to popular opinion on both sides of the political divide, neither man is a “dummy”.
Yesterday, Newsmax reported on the lunch meeting, recalling:
“In his victory speech, as well as in remarks the week after winning reelection, Obama discussed sitting down with his former rival to discuss the major issues facing the country.”
“There were ideas Romney proposed during the election, Obama said, that “I actually agree with. And so it’d be interesting to talk to him.”(Newsmax)
First things first, Romney obviously loves this country and was willing to be the “sacrificial lamb” for the GOP. The common wisdom that the GOP is more dysfunctional that the DNC should be tossed out the window, as both parties have issues with the base, corruption, and huge ego’s getting in the way of successes. Understanding that the 2012 contest was won by a very narrow margin, only underscores the fact that the nation is politically divided into two distinct camps, rather than there being a mandate one way or the other. The problem with having two major parties running the government is that a) it was not the intent, rather the fear of the founding fathers, and b) takes the power from the people of the Republic and places it squarely in the hands of consultants and lobbyists who are tied to one or the other - or both. Development of third, fourth and fifth parties would better serve the nation. It is ridiculous to assume that if there were a third or fourth party, it would lead to chaos. The only result would be a loss of power over at the RNC and the DNC. (The Problem and the solution re: gridlock.)
Therefore, the meeting today has two distinct characters, the President who has shown the ability to extend the olive branch, which is quickly shut down by the Press and Harry Reid or one of his “staff”, and Mitt Romney, who has a record of being able to reach across the aisle and move a Commonwealth forward, without blinking an eye, and actually accomplish something. (Note: This type of behavior wins no reward from one’s base, or ones’ political foes (Also see: Scott Brown). These types of “anti-politician’s are within a major political party framework, but are more independent of the Political Party than those in the hierarchy as well as the base would like.)
It will, therefore, be either a polite lunch, or a meeting of the minds. If, as suggested, the President wants to tap Romney for some of the ideas that the President actually liked, it would most likely be those connected to the economy and government, or how to make said government more efficient. For a clue as to Mitt Romney’s vision on how that might be accomplished, recall Romney’s plan, which was a rather lengthy PDF covering a wide range of topics from Tax Reform to Health Care to Reforming the Federal Government. Topic outline covered here on the 59 point plan Romney devised for economic recovery) In reforming the Federal Government, there are compressive and sane ways in which to cut down the deficit by merging overlapping agencies, as well as placing budget caps on those agencies.
Although the President is perceived a big government kind of guy, when the big government is getting in the way of bigger social programs (one can’t take the community out of the organizer that easily), then something has to give. One might suggest that reforming the way the government runs (or does not in most cases) may be discussed, as well as ways in which to tweak “ORomneycare” (if anyone recalls that one.), or, how to break it to the base, that the corporate tax rate will be cut. Recalling the 2008 DNC Presidential Debates as well as the 2012 Presidential Debates, on more than one occasion, the President had suggested doing just that to bring manufacturing back to the United States. That is one point that had been made by Romney as well as Rick Santorum and Barack Obama.
Speculation: A meeting where no-one has a clue as to what will take place, or be discussed between the two men as the Press is shut out (and hoping Romney will hold a press conference). The speculation from this perspective is that the two will sit down and, in true bi-partisan, we’re in a mess, can we fix it, fashion, look at all the options. One can only hope that’s the case, as we, as a nation, cannot afford anymore niceties or platitudes; rather a work together attitude is in order. If there is one person that would put aside any petty B.S., and roll up their sleeves to help, that would be Romney. In which case, it’s time to get over it and admit: good for both men, the beginning of a job well done.