It’s the latest trend for Presidents and presidential candidates to go around having dinner with randomly selected donors. Given my general lack of social skills, it’s probably good that I haven’t been selected to have dinner with Barack Obama. Here’s how I imagine it going if I did:
ME: Dude, I was born the same year as you.
SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Excuse me. Mr. Asher, this is President Barack Obama. Welcome to dinner with the President.
ME: Oh god, sorry. I’m just excited. Barack, I know this will sound stupid, but part of the reason I’m excited is that I was born in 1961, just like you were, and I always thought this meant we must have grown up listening to the same music. And that really affects our lives, you know, the music we grow up with, so I bet we have a lot of similarities. Like, Barack, so you were 15 years old when Pink Floyd’s Animals came out. Right?
BARACK: I was. Would you like to sit down?
ME: Sure. Damn. Is this place okay? I usually get the Taco Salad, even though they just started putting rice in it, so you have to ask for no rice. Who puts rice in a taco salad?
BARACK: Taco Bell does, apparently.
ME: Ha ha. Good answer. You’re quick! I guess you have to be, to get through all those debates and stuff. Hmm. Well, so, um …
SECRET SERVICE AGENT: I’ll take your orders up to the counter when you’re ready.
ME: Really? We get table service at Taco Bell? Holy shit. This is awesome. I’ve been going to Taco Bell all my life and I’ve never had table service.
BARACK: Levi, what do you do for a living?
ME: I’m a software developer, and a literary blogger. I’m sure you’ve never heard of my website, Literary Kicks. It’s a well-known literary blog.
ME: I make a living building websites. I use Drupal, it’s an excellent open source platform. Your website, whitehouse.gov, uses it. You probably didn’t know that. It’s some good software. Sorry, I’m rambling. I’m a little nervous I guess.
BARACK: And you’re married? With kids?
ME: I’m married, yeah, two daughters, a son and a stepdaughter. And two cats. Ha ha. But I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about you. And music.
BARACK: It must be hard to raise a family on a middle class salary. I bet you and your wife both work hard to keep afloat.
ME: What do you think was the best Neil Young album?
ME: (cockeyed look) You’re not doing a campaign speech, Barack.
BARACK: After the Gold Rush.
ME: (cockeyed look).
BARACK: Okay, let me think about it. Tonight’s the Night. Of course. I wasn’t in campaign mode — I just didn’t think of it at first.
ME: Thank you. So, the 80s sucked, right? God, it’s so cool that you were born the same year as me and you’re President. So, okay, wait, there was a lot of stuff I wanted to say. First — so you didn’t want to get the Dorito Taco? Good call. I’m so impressed with your judgement. Your two Supreme Court picks were excellent.
BARACK: I thought so too, thank you.
ME: I don’t know what the hell will happen to the Supreme Court if Romney gets a chance to put some of his stooges in. Can you imagine? Jeez. Okay, but wait … wait. There’s a bunch of stuff I really wanted to talk to you about. I know you want to hear about my middle class economic problems, but I’ve been dying to say some things first. Do you mind if I start in? You can eat while I talk.
BARACK: Please, be my guest.
ME: First, Barack, please keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve taken such a beating in the press, and there are so many Americans who just hate the sight of you. I know you try hard to make the right decisions. Sometimes I agree with what you decide, sometimes I don’t, but I know you are trying to move the country in the right direction, even though sometimes the progress is slower than we all would prefer.
BARACK: I appreciate that, thank you.
ME: Okay, now, the drones. These killings of suspected terrorists by unmanned aircraft in Pakistan and Afghanistan — this is not good. This has to stop. I do understand that you inherited two wars from your predecessor and that you are trying to execute your responsibilities as commander in chief of the armed forces in as effective a way as possible, and I understand that these targeted killings might seem like a better option than boots on the ground. But innocent people are getting killed, and the use of high-tech innovation in warfare is not a good trend, Barack. Yes, it’s innovative, but we don’t want you being innovative in warfare. The only kind of innovation we want from you in warfare is ending our wars. Please be innovative in peace, not innovative in war, okay? Please?
BARACK: I hear what you’re saying.
SECRET SERVICE AGENT: We’re going to have to move this along.
ME: Okay. That’s fine, I’m almost done. Okay, next. Healthcare reform. What a clusterfuck this has been. Please don’t get discouraged. Barack, you took a step in the right direction, and we can build on this until, finally, eventually, someday all Americans will have health insurance. What a concept, right? Jeez. You’d think a politician could make himself popular with a pledge to ensure that all Americans have health insurance. There’s just so much misinformation out there. Please keep focused on doing the right thing and I hope this will turn out well. That’s all I wanted to say about this.
BARACK: Got it.
ME: Okay, finally, I had this crazy idea for the 2012 election that I wanted to suggest to you. I know that your campaign advisers keep you focused on holding your base and winning the key states and all that stuff. And I know it’s conventional wisdom that hard-core conservatives will never vote for you. But I wish you would address Tea Partiers directly. Don’t give up on them. Go to Oklahoma or West Virginia or wherever — bring a lot of metal detectors and these scary-looking big guys here, of course — and go into a room filled with Tea Partiers who hate your guts. Maybe give them a half hour to yell into the microphone first, let them get their anger out … and then you get up there when it’s your turn and explain to them plain and simply why you, not Mitt Romney, are the candidate looking to fix the economy and decrease government corruption and preserve freedom and liberty and the American way of life. I really believe that some of them will come around. These Tea Partiers aren’t bad people. You can win them over, Barack, I know it sounds crazy, but I think you can do it.
BARACK: Thanks for your feedback. We’ll have to give these ideas some thought.
ME: It’s been an honor, man. Really. Sorry I talked so much. It’s just been all bottled up, you know what I mean?
BARACK: At least I got to rest my voice.
ME: Ha ha! Yeah. Hey … so, were you into Jethro Tull?
SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Dinner with the President is over.