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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.

 

Reach Columnist Christian Patterson here; follow him here.



 

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