The rap on Obama, heating up of late, has been that he hangs with the same few friends and is not playing the political game properly. And inside the beltway the game that drives relationships and gets things done is golf. In his exchange with congressional insider Paul Kane Chris Cillizza opines:
I love the golf thing. I always tell people who have never spent any time up on Capitol Hill that the whole place is driven by relationships. Most big deals — or grand bargains I guess is what we call them now — came as a result of a personal connection between the president and a Congressional leader (or two). They liked each other and, more importantly, trusted each other so they were more willing to deal on the tough stuff…So, my question is this: Does Obama not LIKE Members of Congress?
Of course Obama needn't be always gripping an iron to forge bonds. The main idea being that the President really needs to take the lead. Paul Kane, who doesn't care to fixate on the golf thing, put the matter in its proper, beaming, light:
…there is still something intrinsically cool and powerful about the presidency. When Obama finally hosted a big dinner with senators, at the Jefferson in March, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) was absolutely beaming the very next day. He is as tea party as you can be in the Senate, and he’s been one angry guy for most of his 2-plus years in the Senate. Yet that day, after being in a small room with the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, you could see it in his face how cool he thought it was. He talked about how Obama was charming and engaging and nice, the sorta things Ron Johnson never said about Barack Hussein Obama ever before in his life.