They were delayed in booking it and probably won't have another one again. But it's a Washington formality that Republicans' newest leader sits down with Democrats' outgoing president and at least try to get along. So President Obama hosted House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) for a private lunch on Tuesday.

And it went okay. According to a summary from White House spokesman Josh Earnest, the two talked about what they could do for Puerto Rico's debt crisis, criminal justice reform, the opioid epidemic and Obama's trade deal.

"Hopefully, we're going to find willing partners on Capitol Hill to advance those measures," Earnest told reporters, sounding less than hopeful.

Tuesday's lunch will be the closest thing we'll get to the two leaders playing nice. And that's because Ryan and Obama have very little incentive to work with each other.

Sure, in a perfect world, they would form a bond that even politics couldn't break — and hash out deals over an 18-hole game and glasses of Scotch.

But reality is much different. We are in a divided government. Obama is so frustrated with a Republican Congress that he's basically given up on trying to get anything done with them, and he's doing what he can via executive order instead. Republicans in Congress are so frustrated with Obama's executive orders that they're suing him and sending him Obamacare repeal votes to his desk to force him to veto it. (Fittingly, after Ryan returned from lunch, the House of Representatives got ready to vote to overturn Obama's veto of the Obamacare repeal.)

All the while, a loud, divisive, unexpected and wide-open presidential campaign is playing out in the background.

And really, Ryan and Obama just want to get back to that. While nice to talk about over one lunch, they know legislative compromise isn't in the realm of possibility; it's a victory these days when Congress passes a spending bill two months late.

Obama and Ryan, rivals from the 2012 presidential campaign when Ryan was the GOP's vice presidential pick, both know their skills are best used this year by trying to shape their respective parties' presidential primaries. Obama hosted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) in the Oval Office recently. Ryan, who hasn't endorsed anyone, is focusing on passing conservative legislation in the House of Representatives he hopes the eventual GOP nominee will pick up and run with.

As I wrote in December when I compared the two men's outlooks for 2016, there's more for them to disagree on than agree on:

There's a lot for the two to clash on: whether to fund Planned Parenthood, whether to keep or dismantle Obama's climate change regulations, gun control, criminal justice reform and the Affordable Care Act. On foreign policy, expect the two to fight over whether to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, whether to authorize military force against the Islamic State, whether to approve Obama's 12-nation trade deal and other matters of national security.
In short, 2016 is shaping up to pit Ryan against Obama on a whole range of issues.

One lunch ain't going to change that.

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