Sunday, March 9, 2014

schmoozing with the Hill

The Associated Press reports that the White House is making a concerted effort to build better personal relations with members of Congress.

Among the changes was carving out about 45 minutes in the president's schedule each week for phone calls to a rotating group of three to five Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Obama used to have weekly congressional call time on his schedule, officials said, but it was dropped in 2012 as his re-election campaign picked up. Obama also asked his team to start inviting more lawmakers to fly with him on Air Force One and attend his events around the country.
The President  has also held more social gatherings for members -- "martinis and appetizers."

This can't hurt, but I doubt that it will help much. There is so much hyperpartisanship, even superficial civility is hard to generate. In the [good] old days, partisan debates were conducted with "we're right, you're wrong" arguments, and the debaters could have drinks as friends afterwards. Now the debates are "you're untrustworthy, you lie,  I don't want to be seen with you." That's not the basis for personal friendships.

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