Tuesday night, President-elect Barack Obama sat down with some prominent conservative authors for dinner. Wednesday, Politico's Michael Calderone reports, he's paying a visit to the liberal side of the commentariat:
The group included the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson, the Wall Street Journal's Gerry Seib, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, the New York Times Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, among others.
Today's meeting was held at the transition headquarters, and unlike dinner at George Will's house, I'm told there weren't refreshments. But similar to last night's, the discussion was off the record.
The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, one of the meeting attendees, shares some thoughts:
Lots of emails from readers asking about the chat with the president-elect this morning. It was totally off the record and I'm a stickler for those rules. I can say, however, the following: it's hard to express the relief I feel that this man will be the president soon. I realize that's what I feel above all else: relief.
I may disagree with him at times, and criticize him at times, but his great gift is showing that he does not expect people to change their convictions in order to find common areas of agreement. That's the challenge he's presenting all of us with, wherever we come from ideologically. The challenge is as real for a Krugman as for a Kristol, for Rick Warren as well as Gene Robinson.
Meanwhile, Johnathan Chait points out that even before the new meeting was announced, liberals weren't upset:
They know that Obama understands far more about policy than any of his right-wing dinner companions, is used to being exposed to opposing ideas, and won't come out of that dinner telling his staff, "Hey, did you know we cut half the capital gains tax and raise more revenue?"