I don’t believe the Jason Collins’ “coming out” party is a big deal. Perhaps because I know so many people who “came out” when it wasn’t as accepted as it is today, or in industries where the media isn’t watching to make sure there is a politically correct response. Those are the ones who are “brave.”
Personally, I hope the Boston Celtic center gets his arse kicked by the Knicks tonight. But then again I hope the entire team gets their arse kicked by the Knicks tonight. If Collins was on my team I would be rooting for him to shine in game 5 of the NY-Boston Playoff series.
I found it interesting that President Obama rushed to call Collins to congratulate him for his brave move. There is no problem with the call itself, but it does make one wonder why he doesn’t have time to call Minority Leader McConnell or Speaker Boehner.
The Hill reports that Obama’s relationship with Republican Congressional leaders is at an all time low. He continues to make “personal jabs” at Republican’s which seem more like a vindictive arrow than good natured kidding, especially when one considers the lack of a personal relationship between Obama and the Republicans of whom he threatened to “annihilate” (at least the party).
Even though Obama has met with the Senate and House GOP conferences and various smaller meetings with certain Senate Republicans, the president has not signaled a desire to reach out to Boehner nor McConnell. Many on Capitol Hill view Obama’s recent gatherings with Senate Republicans as a clear end-run around McConnell.
In his first address to the Fourth Estate since the election, Obama went after McConnell in personal terms at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday night.
“Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell? I’m sorry. I get frustrated sometimes,” Obama said.
On the other hand Obama prefers to have a drink with Cambridge Police officers who he believes have “acted stupidly.”
...Joking aside, the president has done little outreach to McConnell except for the perfunctory call following the Boston terror attacks two weeks ago.
“I’m not so sure the president was joking; to some extent, I think it was a fair assessment when [Obama said], ‘Yo, have a drink with Mitch McConnell, no you.’ It’s gotten to that point, Capitol Hill is a pretty entrenched place and neither the president nor congressional Republicans have the power to prevail on any issue,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said.
Instead of reaching out as he had promised so often since he began his run for the presidency six years ago, Obama has made the Republicans the target for most of his venom (he still throws in a jab about Bush every once an a while).
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill that unless the Speaker and President said “hi” at the George W. Bush presidential library opening last week in Dallas, “the last time they spoke – other than the call about Boston – was the bipartisan, bicameral meeting about the sequester.”
The meeting took place on March 1, the day that $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts took place.
Since then, the president has attempted to reach out to rank-and-file Republicans on Capitol Hill.
…Aside from a luncheon meeting with Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) the week before he met with the House GOP Conference, Obama has limited his outreach to GOP senators. But those meetings have yielded little results to date.
John Feehery, GOP strategist and columnist for The Hill, said that Obama has to rely on his Vice President Biden to cut deals with the GOP.
Much of the reason for Obama’s reluctance to reach out is his reluctance to seek compromise. His meetings with the opposition have nothing to do with finding a mid-point and everything to do with trying to convince others to accept his position.
Feehery says tradition dictates the president makes the first move
“Obama’s job is to call Boehner up. He’s the president, that’s the protocol. It’s not like Boehner’s going to call up Obama and bother him. You just don’t do that when you are Speaker of the House. You’ve got to wait for the president to make the contact,” Feehery explained.
It seems that Obama is too busy to make that call between his unending campaigning, frequent rounds of golf, and of course making phone calls to NBA players who decide to “come out.”
An even better perspective on the Jason Collins “coming out” was given by my friend Bruce who is a conservative, but not Jewish. Oh and he is Gay, but that is not what drives him as a person (the fact that he is a wise ass is more important). I strongly urge you to read his column
Jason Collins Is No Hero; Mark Bingham Was