In the last press conference before the inauguration, Jackie Calmes of the New York Times asked a two part question. The second part of the question, I covered earlier. It was about the lack of diversity in Obama's inner circle and cabinet nominations. The first part is about why the president doesn't seem to play well with others.
Really? The debt ceiling, gun control, the fiscal cliff, the war in Afghanistan, Iraq's nuclear threat, the slow job growth, people starving, the issues of education, lack of investment in infrastructure, and this is the question you ask? "Mr. President, why don't you play well with others?"
Had I not heard this before and seen it taken up on several news shows I follow, I would think such a question would be looked at as frivolous. Honestly, it is. Few report the number of times that Republicans have been asked to the White House to state dinners or just to see a movie. The Speaker has not attended six invitations while Senate Minority Leader has skipped on two. No Republican member of either House or Senate would even attend the premier showing of Lincoln, clearly a nonpartisan event. They chose not to come. There was also when the Speaker did not go through the reception line nor even speak to the President at the White House Christmas party.
What of the fact that following the election the Republican leaders would not come to the phone to talk to Obama when he called after he talked to Romney? How about the fact that at least twice the Republican leadership who were negotiating with the White House about the budget have simply walked away from the table just when they seemed to be reaching an agreement or have we forgotten about the walk out following Simpson-Bowles or Plan B? I am not saying that Obama is blameless either, but he is not alone in this accusation. How about the announcement following the "fiscal cliff deal" that John Boehner would no longer negotiate one on one. Really, who is not willing to play here?
While the press talks about how LBJ would schmooze the egos on the Hill, I would point out that the Congress that Johnson had, heck even the congress Clinton had, was a very different Congress. Neither of them had a group that had met on the day they were inaugurated to discuss how to get rid of this President. Neither had a leader of Congress announce that it was his number one priority to make the president a one term president from the floor of the Senate. No that kind of "do your job, but its not personal" Congress is gone. Few of the old timers that operated that way remain. Besides the job of the President and Congress is to get a job done. The problems on the Hill right now...they created. This means that they could solve them. If only we weren't whining that Barack won't come out and play...
Once again, dear press, with all the issues facing this country this is Much Ado...