THE PUNDIT WHISPERER
I think I'm supposed to be apoplectic, but I'm totally cool with the fact that Barack Obama had dinner at George Will's house tonight, and they were joined by several other right-wing pundits:
... 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....
See, I would imagine that it would be the other way around -- any righty who accepted an invitation like this would be deemed a collaborationist, a traitor to the insurgent cause, and would immediately be deemed an unperson by the movement right. (If Limbaugh stayed away, I imagine that's why.)*
(Tomorrow, by the way, Obama's reportedly going to attend another gathering of non-right-wing pundits.)
I'm comfortable with tonight's dinner because while Obama seems to be listening to a lot of people, and working bits of what they're recommending into his mix, his basic approach is still the reasonably progressive one he suggested it would be during the campaign ... and yet right-wingers in particular seem easily lulled by his willingness to listen, and ready to declare him a surprisingly right-wing guy -- after which he turns around and says, "Oh yeah, I'm still closing Gitmo, ending torture, doing diplomatic outreach to enemies, and, oh, retaining the capital gains tax. But it's been great talking to you."**
It doesn't seem to take much for him to make at least some righties think he's a reasonable guy. I sometimes feel I'm watching Cesar Millan calm a psycho dog.
Maybe I'm underestimating Obama's inclination to sell out. But right now I think he's got them where he wants them.
*UPDATE: Yup -- when the Limbaugh rumor reached Free Republic, the most common reaction was, as one Freeper put it, "If true, it's sickening." That and denials that any of the people who actually attended are in any way conservative. Divide and conquer, Mr. President-elect?
**ANOTHER UPDATE: It occurs to me that I meant "estate tax," not "capital gains tax" -- though I gather there are a fair number of people on the right who want to eliminate the capital gains tax, too.