President Obama is going to meet with Mitt Romney today for lunch to get his input on moving the country forward. At its simplest, it's a nice gesture. It shows we can have political differences and disagree on policies, but we're all still Americans together, who all want the country to succeed. Right?
This is all about keeping up the pretense that there's a basic level of agreement between Left and Right on anything today. It's a sham on multiple levels.
More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
There are three things that need to be said about this so-called consulting on ideas that can move the country forward.
1) Republicans were and are still determined to take the country BACK all the way to the 16th century or farther. Forward is NOT what they want.
2) Mitt Romney never had any ideas to move the country forward (see point 1). His entire campaign was built on destroying his opponents, painting them in the scariest of possible terms, coupled with making empty promises to magically make things better with no basis in substance whatsoever. There's no 'there' there.
3) Mitt Romney is an empty sock puppet who has been thrown in the trash by his party. He has zero credibility with any of them at this point, and a lot of anger about their millions that he wasted.
If the President is actually interested in talking to the other side for their ideas, he should go to the source: the Koch brothers, Pete Peterson, Lloyd Blankfein, Rupert Murdoch, Jamie Dimon, Sheldon Adelson, Grover Norquist, Ron Paul, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, the Religious Right, etc. etc. AKA the 1% and the American Taliban.
Talking to Romney is a waste of time, except for his role as a representative of the vulture capitalist class. Otherwise, the wholly-owned Republicans in Congress and the right wing media machine are now the primary outlets for the 'ideas' of the puppet masters. If Obama wants their ideas, all he has to do is listen to them. We already know how eager they are to work with him.
Look - ever since Reagan, Republicans don't nominate presidential candidates for their vision or their proven skills. They nominate them for their ability to market toxic ideology and get a majority of voters to swallow it. They nominate them with the idea that once in office they'll take orders from their owners. There is not one Republican nominee for president since Reagan who has any real standing in the country. Fail, and you get discarded. There is not one Republican former president since Reagan who inspires any real affection or nostalgia among the base - or anyone else save the punditry and the DC establishment.
We all know this is a kabuki dance - that's why the press is not invited to this travesty of a sham of a charade.
If the President really wants to get ideas on how to move the country forward, he should be having lunch with all of the progressives who just got elected. Frequently.
It would also help if he had lunch with people who've had a history of being right in the last few years, and right on what's coming at us. Krugman? Moulitsas? McKibben? Fluke? When you see names like that in the White House guest book, you can start to really believe we might just start moving forward.
UPDATE: Lots of comments here, mostly wondering what my problem is, it seems. Let me be a little more explicit. I have no problem with the President extending a bit of courtesy to a defeated opponent. It's the right thing to do... with the understanding courtesy is largely wasted on Republicans. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, if only because of the giant hissy fit they'd throw if he didn't.
Romney ran a divisive, racist campaign. That the President can afford to be gracious is to his credit, not Romney's. Reaching out to Romney at this point is an empty gesture otherwise - he has zero credibility with the Republican party now, but the policies he campaigned on are still being pushed by the GOP. This luncheon will do nothing about that. They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. We should not expect any reciprocation on their part.
Meanwhile, let's not forget the 'graciousness' that has been displayed by the GOP in the past. Remember the stories about departing Clintonites supposedly trashing the White House? How about the way the Bushies 'lost' so many emails? Remember how Romney left Massachusetts? He and his staff made sure their computer hard drives were scrubbed and destroyed. The records of what he did for the Salt Lake City Olympics got sanitized too, IIRC.
I have no problem with the President engaging in empty symbolism. It's part of the job. That being said, I'd like to see some REAL symbolism to compensate for the kabuki. As I said in the Tip Jar, "Who do YOU think the president should have lunch with? How about an ordinary American picked at random from White House tours once a week?" Any suggestions?
The lunch is probably taking place now as I type this. How'd you like to be a fly on that wall?