There's a reason why I'll never make a good politician. I don't like to get on the phone at 9:00am on Monday and talk to people. And neither, it appears, does President Obama. That's not me saying that. It's MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Says Matthews of conversations with people on Capitol Hill:
He doesn’t call. He doesn’t write. Matthews continues, “I keep asking them, when did you hear [from the president] last? Silence. He doesn’t like their company.”When he first got elected as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan's aides pushed him in a different direction. Forget about going home at five pm, they said:
You have to get to know the legislators, especially the leaders, especially the Democrats. You have to have drinks with them. Tell jokes with them. They have to get to know you, like you, and trust you.Over at the Wall Street Journal Holman Jenkins details how his isolation worked against President Obama on the recently failed Supercommittee. The president could have picked up the tax-increase idea floated by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and fashioned a compromise. But he didn't.
Mr. Obama, if he had the political creativity he credits himself with, would now pick it up and run with it, instantly redeeming the super-committee "failure" with an act of presidential leadership.Ah yes. Leadership. What voters are generally looking for in a president. But leadership, according to Ronald Reagan's aides, means getting out and talking with the players. Because unless you get out among them, you will find it impossible to twist their arms when the moment comes to make the final push on a key piece of bipartisan legislation.
Napoleon said that in battle, the moral is to the physical as three to one. When Gen. Sherman was marching through Georgia, his troops liked to get a look at their "Uncle Billy" to make sure that things were still all right.
When things get tough in 2012, how will Obama's troops get the same reassurance from the man that nobody knows?