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Romney And Obama Are Showing Real Bipartisanship

Christian Patterson |
December 1, 2012 | 8:16 p.m. PST

Columnist

Romney visited the White House this week. (The White House, Wikimedia Commons)
Romney visited the White House this week. (The White House, Wikimedia Commons)
Like many Americans, I was surprised when the White House announced that Mitt Romney would be having lunch with President Obama.

I know that Obama promised in his acceptance speech to sit down with the former GOP presidential candidate, but who actually thought that was genuine? His promise was reminiscent of the "lets get lunch sometime" you say to a familiar acquaintance you had the awkward misfortune of running into on the street, or the "we should hangout sometime" you hear from a friend you've lost touch with over the years. No one ever means those things. They're just things you say, like "I'll take the trash out later" or "I'm going to have just one potato chip." 

These two men spent the better part of the last year tearing each other limb from limb. Romney blamed the President for a terrible economy and palled around with a guy who is only politically relevant for calling Obama a Kenyan-born socialist. Obama said some not-so-nice things about Romney's time at Bain Capital. Where I come from, that kind of behavior warrants unfriending someone on Facebook, or calling that person's mom - certainly not having a private luncheon.

But what do I know? Maybe Romney and Obama really have put the past behind them and have decided to put their heads together for the good of the nation. Maybe Romney has gotten over losing to Obama in front of 300-plus million Americans and a closely watching world. Maybe the President has forgotten about Tagg Romney threatening to take a swing at him, and Romney's four-year-long quest to take away Obama's house, job and title. 

I seriously doubt any of things are true. The President and Governor Romney still probably feel the same level of disdain for each other that they did when they almost came to blows in the town hall debate. However, that only makes what they did last Thursday all the more admirable.

This "private lunch" represents the leaders of their respective parties coming together to send a bipartisan message to a country in much need of real leadership. Barack Obama just defeated Mitt Romney in an election that centered on the direction of our national economic policy, so I highly doubt Obama is going to take too many suggestions from across the table. Mitt Romney spent the last year telling America that Obama was in over his head, so the odds of him taking some of the President's suggestions back to Speaker Boehner are similarly slim. That doesn't mean the message of this meeting will be lost, however.

The coming together of these two men should inspire a dysfunctional Congress to put their egos aside and make the deals that are essential to our nation's fiscal health. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama should be applauded for calling this meeting. Even if it is just for show, even if the only sound in that room was the clanking of glasses and silverware scraping against plates, these two men have sent a signal that hope can flourish even in the most toxic of environments.

 

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Comments

Anonymous (not verified) on December 2, 2012 7:27 AM

Wow one of the most unresearched and uneducated columns I have read in a long time. Go back to history class and also go research your Romneys. No wonder we are the joke of the industrialized world. Lets hope most of those tax increases go toward education.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)
capatter on December 2, 2012 10:22 AM

Such a substantive critique. Thanks!

Your rating: None
Anonymous (not verified) on December 2, 2012 5:50 AM

I'm surprised you were surprised by a tradition going back many presidencies. And no, "many Americans" were not at all surprised that they had lunch at the White House -- I'm pretty sure you were the only one.
Silly writing, silly writer. . .

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)
capatter on December 2, 2012 10:29 AM

False

Reagan Mondale-Never met. Never even had a concession phone call
http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365.html

Kerry and Bush-Never met
"They never spoke again, Shrum said. Not once. For four years, the entire rest of Bush’s term. Not about a bill, even though Kerry was still in the Senate. Not over a bike ride or a windsurfing trip. Not over a post-campaign lunch — Bush didn’t arrange one — or any meal after."-- quote from Bob Shrum Kerry Top Adviser , Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html#ixzz2Dv7Zc8xS

Reagan-Carter?
"Reagan, Rollins said, wouldn’t have minded talking more with Mondale, though the two never did. But Rollins said Reagan couldn’t stand Carter, whom he felt was always lecturing him."--Ed Rollins, top Reagan adviser http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html#ixzz2Dv7uP8CX

McGovern-Nixon--Never met
http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html

Maybe your psychic powers told you months ago that Romney and Obama were going to meet, but for us mere mortals the historical record was anything but foreshadowing.

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Chico (not verified) on December 2, 2012 5:25 AM

You were surprised, really, that this president did what every previous president going back 200 years has done with his defeated opponent and met with him? Hey, let me give you another scoop: Obama will also attend the inauguration of whoever replaces him, and defeated presidents attend the inauguration of the men who beat them! (The only exceptions were the Adamses.) Nor is Congress "disfunctional" if you look at history. The founders designed this government to move slowly and only when we had the precious consensus and bipartisanship you seek. We're not a dictatorship. I'm sorry if you lack the patience to wait for democracy or the knowledge of history to understand how this works, but there are plenty of books out there on these subjects. Pick one up. Then maybe your only credentials for writing won't be "columnist" and you'll have an actual, learned opinion to offer.

On that note, if you're going to link to articles, you might actually read them. This Romney said nothing about punching Obama. You see, sons and relatives often have the same last name. It was the son of Mitt Romney who joked he'd "like to take a swing at Obama." Not only was it a joke, but you might look up "take a swing" at. It does not mean you punch someone. It means you try it. They're free to duck. And had it been a "threat," there are people called "The Secret Service" who would have interviewed Mr. Romney -- again, not the Mr. Romney you're writing about.

Seriously, how old are you, six?

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capatter on December 2, 2012 10:35 AM

Are you serious?
Because clearly the Founding Fathers intended for us to get hours away from the reaching of the debt ceiling?
Or government shutdowns?
Would they have thought it awesome that Obama and Boehner didn't speak at all in a week when policies were about to be repealed that a consensus of economists think will result in a massive double-dip recession?
Maybe they would have liked that members of Congress are calling the President a liar during the State of the Union?
I'm sorry you like super slow non-reponsive government. But some of us like it when our government can provide essential services and doesn't cause millions of job losses?

As for your 200 year tradition:

False

Reagan Mondale-Never met. Never even had a concession phone call
http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365.html

Kerry and Bush-Never met
"They never spoke again, Shrum said. Not once. For four years, the entire rest of Bush’s term. Not about a bill, even though Kerry was still in the Senate. Not over a bike ride or a windsurfing trip. Not over a post-campaign lunch — Bush didn’t arrange one — or any meal after."-- quote from Bob Shrum Kerry Top Adviser , Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html#ixzz2Dv7Zc8xS

Reagan-Carter?
"Reagan, Rollins said, wouldn’t have minded talking more with Mondale, though the two never did. But Rollins said Reagan couldn’t stand Carter, whom he felt was always lecturing him."--Ed Rollins, top Reagan adviser http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html#ixzz2Dv7uP8CX

McGovern-Nixon--Never met
http://www.politico.com/story/2012/11/84365_Page2.html

Maybe your psychic powers told you months ago that Romney and Obama were going to meet, but for us mere mortals the historical record was anything but foreshadowing.

Hope I met your columnist standards

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