Recently re-elected President Barack Obama and failed GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney had lunch last Thursday, and what fun it is to imagine their conversation. Perhaps it went something like this. …
President Obama entered the dining room and assessed the image of the conquered man. Gov. Romney’s discomfort was painfully obvious in his rapid blinking and the puckered face he gets whenever he has to admit to a screw-up. With a surge of sympathy, Obama glided across a carpet of triumphant confidence to warmly greet the poor guy with a firm hand and a manly half-hug.
“Hey, Governor, welcome to the White House.”
Romney struggled briefly with conflicting responses: He was eager for approval, but preferably from older, richer, whiter guys, and he was never comfortable with man hugs. Still, Boy Scout that he was, he acquiesced to the President’s welcome, and stepped away as quickly as social grace would allow.
“Gosh, thanks, Mr. President,” he said, brushing some imagined schmutz from his shoulder.
The President flashed on Sarah Palin’s on-camera question before a 2008 debate, asking if she could call the Vice President of the United States “Joe.” Obama opted for informal anyway, despite the well-published gaff.
“Call me ‘Barack.’ No need to honor formalities over a friendly lunch — we’re having two of my favorites, white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.”
“Golly, thanks, Mr. Pre— uh, Barack. And you can certainly address me by my given name, ‘Mitt.’ Never was fond of Willard. It’s too easy to shorten to one of those smutty words.”
The President was curious, but squelched the urge to ask for clarification and shifted, instead, into host mode.
“Have a seat, Mitt. Please, sit right here,” the President gestured to a seat on one side of the table, and settled down opposite it. “The campaign’s over, so let’s put the figurative boxing gloves away and talk about rebuilding middle-class confidence. I’d really like to hear your ideas, Mitt, any suggestions you have, areas where you might enjoy a leadership role.”
“Boxing gloves, huh?” Romney puckered a little tighter and frowned. “I see them there on the sideboard.”
“Those? Oh, they’re just a light-hearted joke, Mitt, no worries. Just the staff having a little fun, a symbol you might say. They’re shelved, get it?”
“Oh my, you darn near scared the dickens out of me, Barack, ha-ha-ha!” Romney said, laughing onomatopoetically, as was his wont.
“So, I hope you took a little time for yourself, Mitt, to decompress from the campaign?” the President asked, noting that Romney might have benefitted from a little more of a break.
“Oh, yes, indeedy. Ann and I passed a few days gallivanting around and about La Jolla, having a gosh-darn good time! And we went to a public viewing of Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 the other day. It’s such a rootin-tootin celebration of life, and a great giggle for Ann and me. We really needed that. What did you do to relax, Barack?” Romney assumed a listening pose, while chewing a bite of white turkey chili, wishing it were beef.
“I read The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver. Read it on my iPad. Hell of a whiz kid, that young man. And boy, did he peg the— um, it was one hell of a good read, and how about those iPads. Fabulous technology! Do you have one?”
“No, can’t say that I do. But, Barack, here’s a suggestion I’ll send your way. Consider, if you will, a sampling of more, shall we say, temperate language. For example, I find a handy-dandy replacement for H-E double hockey sticks is just that — ‘H-E double hockey sticks.’ It’s so much nicer for the ladies, and, you know, the gentler sex depends on us to shelter them from the harsh refrains of life.”
“You’re one hell— er, heck of an anachronism, aren’t you there, Mitt.” The President chuckled and pulled his left earlobe, hoping his aide was watching for the secret get-me-the-hell-out-of-here signal. “Well, our little chat has me wondering, what role do you envision for yourself moving forward, Mitt?”
“Welp, that’s a darn good question, and I have come to a conclusion on that one.” Romney paused to take a bite of his Southwestern grilled chicken salad, which was just as disappointingly beefless as the chili.
Obama waited with bated breath, uncertain where Romney’s answer would fall on the spectrum from entertaining to horrifying.
“I’ve certainly thought about it long and hard,” Romney continued. “As a matter of fact, Ann and I discussed this the other day. I bet you dollars to doughnuts you’ve asked yourself which you would be, if you could choose, right? Me, I’d have to be Jacob, because, you know, Edward is so gosh-darn gay!”
The President choked and coughed up a bite of well-masticated grilled chicken, depositing a splatter of spittle-laced poultry particles across the front of Romney’s dapper blue blazer, while pulling the dickens out of his left earlobe and wondering where the hell his aide had gotten to.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag, San Diego Free Press and The Progressive Post. She formerly worked for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at [email protected].