There are lots of nice hiking trails in Northern Virginia. I’ve been on many. With respect to President Obama’s offer to “potentially work together,” made during today’s press conference, Mitt Romney should politely tell the president to go get himself on one of them.
I’m not suggesting Romney should be vindictive or bitter. But the words said during an election campaign should have at least some small bit of meaning. And for Romney to agree at this point to work with Obama would actually denigrate the American political system. It would say that they presidential campaign, which is the heart of American democracy, essentially means nothing.
If the two sides had fought well – even acerbically – and Romney had lost, fine, make up and unite. But Obama ran the dirtiest, lowest, most malignant campaign I have seen in my lifetime.
He said not just that Romney was wrong, but that he was a liar. He suggested Romney was a heartless bastard who cared only about his wealthy country club friends. He let his allies run an ad that linked Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital to a woman’s death. His campaign left the impression Romney had cheated on his taxes. Romney, Obama’s campaign claimed, was waging a “war on women.”
Obama’s vice president suggested Romney was a racist who wanted to put black people back in “chains” and a xenophobe on the level of the anti-Catholic Know Nothing Party of the 1800s.
In terms of policy, Obama’s campaign was not about much. It was, instead, about destroying a good man’s character.
If that man, Mitt Romney, decides now to cooperate with Obama, what Romney will really be doing is dismissing the whole campaign as a meaningless exercise and condoning such dirty tactics as a template for the future.
What Obama did was unacceptable. And Romney shouldn’t accept it.
Obama’s offer is an attempt at self-exculpation, a sham that will communicate to the American people that Romney concurs with Obama’s campaign abuses as fair play. It’s also part of a White House strategy to make Republicans seem petty for not compromising with Obama by saying, Look, even Romney can work with me.
Romney should, privately and without fanfare, tell Obama about the hikes he can take on Virginia’s beautiful trails, and that with the weather have turned cold, there’s no danger of him stepping on any snakes of the type that ran his campaign.