Guess who's coming to dinner?

Rick Moran
More symbolic post partisanship from Obama as he was a guest of George Will for dinner last night. Also present were William Kristol of the Weekly Standard (and New York Times), David Brooks - also of the New York Times, and Charles Krauthammer of Fox News and the Washington Post.

Marc Ambinder is reporting that the meeting was set up by Obama's new press secretary Ellen Moran and that he will have another dinner tomorrow with "non-Republican" opinion columnists.

To those who say quite rightly that this was just a symbolic gesture and didn't mean anything, I disagree. The presidency is an office with a heavy symbolic content. The Constitution really doesn't say that much about the powers invested in the office. Much of the influence a president has is directly proportionate to his popularity with the people.

Obama knows that those gentlemen will disagree with him 95% of the time. But the atmospherics he creates by reaching out a hand in civility is exactly what the country needs right now. If we can't disagree with civility and respect for each other, the bailout will be the least of our worries. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Some people smarter than both you and I put together think the economy will get much worse and that our problems will last years. Others disagree, but we'd be fools to ignore those dire warnings. And being at each other's throats as we have been the last 16 years would only make a bad situation that much worse. At a time when it might be vital for Congress to act, we would be paralyzed with partisanship and distrust.

We all believe that Obama and the Democrats are making a monumental mistake in spending nearly a trillion dollars on God knows what. Fine - let's fight tooth and nail to defeat it. But might we also give them the benefit of the doubt as to their motives? They are wrong - dead wrong - but not evil. Disagreeing without branding your political foe a monster or a traitor will make it easier to change course once it becomes clear that the stimulus is the wrong road to take.

And given the small numbers of the GOP in Congress, as a tactical political strategy, we can hardly do anything else.
More symbolic post partisanship from Obama as he was a guest of George Will for dinner last night. Also present were William Kristol of the Weekly Standard (and New York Times), David Brooks - also of the New York Times, and Charles Krauthammer of Fox News and the Washington Post.

Marc Ambinder is reporting that the meeting was set up by Obama's new press secretary Ellen Moran and that he will have another dinner tomorrow with "non-Republican" opinion columnists.

To those who say quite rightly that this was just a symbolic gesture and didn't mean anything, I disagree. The presidency is an office with a heavy symbolic content. The Constitution really doesn't say that much about the powers invested in the office. Much of the influence a president has is directly proportionate to his popularity with the people.

Obama knows that those gentlemen will disagree with him 95% of the time. But the atmospherics he creates by reaching out a hand in civility is exactly what the country needs right now. If we can't disagree with civility and respect for each other, the bailout will be the least of our worries. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Some people smarter than both you and I put together think the economy will get much worse and that our problems will last years. Others disagree, but we'd be fools to ignore those dire warnings. And being at each other's throats as we have been the last 16 years would only make a bad situation that much worse. At a time when it might be vital for Congress to act, we would be paralyzed with partisanship and distrust.

We all believe that Obama and the Democrats are making a monumental mistake in spending nearly a trillion dollars on God knows what. Fine - let's fight tooth and nail to defeat it. But might we also give them the benefit of the doubt as to their motives? They are wrong - dead wrong - but not evil. Disagreeing without branding your political foe a monster or a traitor will make it easier to change course once it becomes clear that the stimulus is the wrong road to take.

And given the small numbers of the GOP in Congress, as a tactical political strategy, we can hardly do anything else.