Jim Geraghty directed me to an interesting article about the President. According to the NY Times, Barack Obama is a lonely man. His circle of advisers is shrinking and he has never been friendly with the folks in Congress. Maybe someone should buy the guy a teddy bear—or two.
“I just called Reggie,” Mr. Obama said. It was his first domestic trip without Reggie Love, the former Duke University basketball player who had been his constant companion and presidential “body man” until he left in November..“I miss him,” the president confessed.
More noteworthy than Mr. Obama’s spending the short flight calling his longtime aide is what he did not do: schmooze with Washington politicians. No one from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation traveled with Mr. Obama on the plane, a perk that presidents often offer to lawmakers to foster good will.
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Its not that the commander-in-chief thinks members of congress have cooties, itsss that he doesn’t like the game of being nice to members of congress just to build coalitions. According to the Times, he likes to keep congress at arms length.
Mr. Obama, in general, does not go out of his way to play the glad-handing, ego-stroking presidential role. While he does sometimes offer a ride on Air Force One to a senator or member of Congress, more often than not, he keeps Congress and official Washington at arm’s length, spending his down time with a small — and shrinking — inner circle of aides and old friends.
He typically golfs with a trio of mid- to low-level staff members little known outside the West Wing. He does not spend much time at Camp David, the retreat other presidents have used to woo Washington. His social life runs toward evenings playing Taboo with old friends and their families, Wii video games with his wife and daughters or basketball with Robert Wolf, a banker and the rare new best friend Mr. Obama has acquired since entering politics. He vacations with friends from Chicago on Martha’s Vineyard in August and in Hawaii at Christmas.
Washington insiders of both parties call Obama s “remote,” “distant” and “perfunctory.”
“This is not a Lincoln bedroom guy,” said James Carville, the Democratic strategist, referring to the guest bedroom at the White House where President Bill Clinton put up supporters and donors. “In fact, he’s the anti-Lincoln bedroom guy. He doesn’t seem to relish, or even like, having politicians around.”
To many in Washington — including those, of course, who crave presidential face time — Mr. Obama’s seeming aloofness is risky. He is the nation’s politician in chief, and the presidency has always been first and foremost about politics.
“It’s about building relationships,” said Gerald Rafshoon, a television producer who was President Jimmy Carter’s communications director. “Some people are saying he’s a recluse. You don’t want that reputation. He needs to show that he likes people.” Mr. Rafshoon’s old boss, an outsider to Washington when he became president, recently wrote in his book “White House Diary” that he did not socialize enough when he was the chief executive.
Yes but in Carter’s case, if he socialized more he would have had much less time to make stupid decisions.
According to the article, Congressional members of the GOP say they rarely hear from Obama and Democrats say they don’t hear from him enough.
“When you have relationships with individual members, you can call them up and ask a favor, and a lot of times, if it’s not objectionable, you can get things done,” said Representative Dennis A. Cardoza, Democrat of California.
This is a president who arrogantly believes that every he does is perfect. Perhaps he doesn’t believe in the “glad-handing” part of the job because he simply believes that coalition-building is not necessary, after all he is always correct.
The president hosts plenty of large gatherings — like a recent holiday reception at the White House, attended by 400 lawmakers and their spouses — but they lack the intimacy of smaller events, where there is real give and take, Mr. Cardoza and others lawmakers said.
Similarly, some of the president’s aides acknowledge complaints from Democratic fund-raisers that they have not been shown much love from the president, beyond standard grip-and-grin photographs at fund-raising dinners.
Well that and the no-bid contracts such as Solyndra.
This goes way beyond a lonely president and some teddy bears. Barack Obama has isolated himself from congress and from the American people. That isolation has created a man who is out of touch with the needs and wants of the American people.