A Retreat that was no Retreat

As part of his “I ain’t scared of you….” tour, President Barack Obama spent Friday at the one place where he was most likely to hear “You Lie!” shouted at him at top volume.

He went to the House Republican Retreat in Baltimore, Maryland.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people trying to reach out to those with whom they disagree, even if the disagreement is as vehement as the scuffle between President Obama and the GOP has been during his first year in office.

But when my Significant Other pointed this out to me as I was trying to do some of the less academic stuff that I do on Fridays, I had only one question:

What’s the point?

It’s one thing to try and reach out to those with whom you disagree. It’s another thing entirely to put yourself in a room filled with people who would cheerfully beat you about the head and neck with a bat if they could.

But as I often say, that’s why President Obama is better than me. He hasn’t punched anybody yet.

President Obama spent a good deal of time with the House GOP members, and even too their questions. My guess is that this Congressional equivalent of the British House of Commons’ question time was supposed to be the House member’s best shot at making the Prez look like he didn’t know his head from, well, not head.

(If you want to see some television that will make you double over with laughter, I recommend Commons Question Time. It comes on every Sunday on CSPAN and will make you wish that your elected officials kept it that real with each other.)

Didn’t work.

The President instead used the question and answer session to call for bipartisanship, call the House Members out on some of their half-truths and overtly political rhetoric, and to generally make the GOP folks look like they were a little directionally confused on the whole head, not head thing.

I’m glad to see that while President Obama hasn’t completely abandoned bipartisanship, he’s decided to mix some of that Eliot Ness with a little more Jimmy Malone.

And I’m also glad to see that the GOP is cooperating with him in his efforts to make televised presidential speeches more entertaining.


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