Barack Obama had dinner last night with conservative columnists.
The president-elect arrived at the Chevy Chase, Md., home of syndicated columnist George Will shortly after 6:30 p.m., according to a press pool report. Greeting him at the residence were other luminaries of the conservative commentariat, including the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.
The odd-couple gathering led to speculation that Rush Limbaugh, who said that he was in D.C. for a “secret meeting,” was also in attendance. “I’m just offering, a personal trip, nobody even has to know about this,” the notorious and combative talk show host wrote on his website.
Alas, a source close to the transition confirms, Limbaugh was definitely not in attendance during the dinner affair — likely disappointing some in the conservative blogosphere, knowing full well the fury that would have caused among progressives.
Nevertheless, Obama’s choice of dining partners seem likely to cause its fair share of hair-pulling and eye-rolling. As the pool reporter, Ken Bazinet of the New York Daily News, penned in his write up: “This is for real, folks. The bloggers are going to love this one.”
Count me out of the hair-pulling and eye-rolling. I think it’s fine for Mr. Obama to meet with the conservatives and listen to them, and let them get to know him, too. As for the anticipated explosion from the lefties, I think the wingers will be disappointed; chances are the howls of hysteria are more likely to come from the folks at Free Republic who will label the pundits who met with him as collaborationists and traitors, or some right-wing columnists who are pissed off that they weren’t invited.
It also gives Mr. Obama an edge. It will make it a lot harder for the righties to say that he’s a rigid and rabid ideologue when he has been the reasonable and open-minded guy in the discussion.