I can be pretty hard on the President but I have to give him credit for the "beer summit"!
Here I had been thinking he was acting "stupidly" again by perpetuating an issue that had gotten over blown and that it was little more than another photo op for a camera hungry President since the press was not allowed within earshot.
Nothing changed my mind when I heard the statements from the "guests" afterwards. They were stiff at best and probably prepared by White House staffers. Never mind that the beer was on us!
Then I saw this portion of a cartoon and thought, "Aha!" There is a method to his madness. If enough brew is consumed the major antagonists will look better and better to one another! This could lead to a whole new philosophy in any area of negotiation with those who don't see things our way. Drink up!
The policeman and the prof certainly had a better deal than a group of business leaders who were invited to the White House for lunch a few weeks back. Imagine, lunch in the President's private dining room and the chance to discuss everything from health care to education. Imagine their surprise when they were asked for their credit card information so they could be charged for the meal!
The rational was to prevent any appearance of conflict of interest. I'm not sure that is acceptable. This group included the CEOs of Xerox, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Honeywell. The administration is sorely in need of their advice and consul considering, from the President on down, they have precious little business experience. I'm not sure we should be "charging" them for the privilege of sharing their knowledge!
Even Letitia Baldrige, who is the first lady of Washington of etiquette, suggested it was a serious breech of protocol. Whoa! There's that word again. Protocol. Hasn't the White House hired a protocol officer yet?
I sure hope it was a three martini lunch, even if the CEO's had to pay. It may have made things look a little better!