Mitt and Barack do lunch

President Obama is scheduled to sit down with his 2012 campaign rival, Mitt Romney, at the White House for lunch on Thursday.  The conversation between them will be private.

Obama presaged this event as far back as Election Day, as the New York Times recalls:

In his victory speech on election night, Mr. Obama praised Mr. Romney???s legacy of public service and said that he looked ???forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.???

A week later, in his first post-election news conference, Mr. Obama elaborated on that promise, saying that he thought there were ???certain aspects??? of Mr. Romney???s background that could help the country confront the fiscal challenges in the years ahead.

???I do think he did a terrific job running the Olympics,??? Mr. Obama said. ???And you know, that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better applies to the federal government. There are a lot of ideas that I don???t think are partisan ideas but are just smart ideas about how can we make the federal government more customer-friendly.???

The president added: ???He presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And so it???d be interesting to talk to him about something like that.???

White House spokesman Jay Carney said of Romney’s lunchtime visit, “He was obviously a very successful businessman, and I’m sure has some ideas that I’m sure the President will find helpful.  It will be a substantial lunch, if not on the plate, then in discussion.”

Oh, really?  Mitt Romney was “obviously a very successful businessman” who surely has some ideas that President Obama will surely find helpful?  Now they tell us!  Because during the campaign, Barack Obama and his hatchet men told us Mitt Romney was a heartless, greedy vulture capitalist who killed a steelworker’s wife by refusing to pay for her health care.  He was nothing but a corporate raider who bought up companies, sucked them dry of assets, and then mercilessly dispatched their employees to the bread lines.

Romney was also a tax cheat – in fact, Obama surrogate Harry Reid openly accused him of being a felony tax evader, and claimed he had witnesses who could prove it.  As for the Winter Olympics, Obama’s character hit squad floated the idea that Romney committed another felony offense by lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission and secretly running Bain Capital from his hotel room in Salt Lake City.

And it’s hard to tell which Romney ideas Obama now claims to agree with, because we never heard anything like that during the campaign.  Obama didn’t just disagree with Romney’s ideas – he lied shamelessly about them, citing ancient, discredited studies to claim that Romney had secret plans to raise taxes on Medicare beneficiaries and the middle class.  Obama actually spent a good deal of time insisting Romney didn’t have any real plans, and he somehow managed to do it with a straight face, even though Obama’s own “plans” were warmed-over 2008 campaign promises.  On a personal level, Romney was accused of wanting to either subjugate or physically injure women, and deprive children of their Muppets.

That’s the problem with running the kind of bottom-feeding, no-holds-barred, scorched-earth campaign that got Obama re-elected, and which the media would never allow a Republican to replicate.  It makes the traditional post-election “my opponent is a fine fellow” bonhomie seem even more laughable.