It is a shame that we cannot have true dialogue and Utah Senator Lee calling the President “sophomoric” does not help matters. Of course, his call for other Republicans to stand up and openly disrespect President Obama for political points to their core does not solve the problem. That is what I call sophomoric.
On the other hand, President Obama is not that much better if his actual response to a question about his tactics on Medicaid was accurate. According to Senator Lee, Obama allegedly said “I don’t speak nearly as badly about you as some of you do about me.”
Rather than be sensitive to criticism, which is par for the course with being the leader of the free world, simply explain why cutting the deficit primarily from segments of the population that are most vulnerable is immoral. Then Republicans can explain their position on how entitlement spending are a drag on economic growth and job creation. The result is true give-and-take where we can see whether there is any room for common ground.
Also, this dialogue is meaningless when there are no other Democrats in the room. Obama cannot speak for all Democrats. Any concessions made by Obama in that room would be seen as treason from other Democrats and would cause further divisiveness and discord.
The answer lies in key leadership from both parties openly engaging with each other on the issues impacting our country. While one would think televising this on CSPAN would be helpful, it would only lead to more disengagement as leaders closed themselves from considering alternative points of view due to their fear of the base thinking that they are weak and capitulating. It will simply be another charade where Democrats and Republicans would be trying to persuade the public why their viewpoint is the best, rather than truly listening to each other and finding common ground.
Regardless of format or method, Obama, Democrats, and Republicans must find ways to truly engage and listen to each other. What is sad is that if calmer heads were present, they would find that their differences are not that far apart.