They came, they met. And then they came out to say that they met.
That's about all that D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee had to say about their much-anticipated 90-minute session Thursday afternoon, their first since the end of a rancorous Democratic mayoral primary in which she actively campaigned against him.
We may never know what actually went on. When they emerged from Gray's fifth-floor office about 1:30 p.m., the mayor-apparent said no decisions had been made, and that he would make no personnel moves until after the general election. He also said -- after Rhee slipped away from the press gaggle -- that there was no discussion of the possible remaining length of her tenure.
"She didn't say 'I want to leave,' she didn't say 'I want to stay,' " Gray said.
Far more telling was the body language and choreography of the brief news conference. As Gray strode to the bank of microphones, a drawn and shaken-looking Rhee quickly took a spot in the corner far behind Gray's right shoulder, and said she had little to add. (Check out the video here.) After about five minutes, she slipped back into the corridor fronting Gray's office and headed for the elevators, pursued by reporters who barreled into the elevator with her despite a police officer's attempts to muscle them away. Those who rode down with her said she said nothing.
Gray also said that there was no revisitation of Rhee's rather damning campaign characterizations of him as someone who second-guessed and disdained many of her reform efforts. He characterized the meeting as a wide-ranging discussion of District education issues, much of it based on the position paper.
"What we agree on is that we all want what is best for our kids," Gray said. "There really is not much more to say."
Arrogant person that she is, it's good to see her get a little comeuppance. Even supporters of reform - people like Eugene Robinson, Bob Herbert and Errol Louis - have written in the last few days of Rhee's hubris.
At the end of the day, Rhee will be fine. She'll get lots of wingnut welfare, make regular appearances on Oprah and Morning Joe, write a couple of books and try and keep an eye on her chowhound husband, KJ.
She'll move on, as they say.
But for one day at least, she looked chastened.
Doubt she learned anything from this. As Gene Robinson noted in the Wash Post last week after Rhee said Gray's victory over Adrian Fenty was devastating for Washington children:
I've seen Latin American juntas surrender power more gracefully.