Maureen Dowd has an interesting column this morning. It's an interesting take on Washington today.
She described John Boehner's obvious misery as Speaker with Joe Biden's upbeat approach when he swore in the new Senate. She also contrasted Biden's ease with people of all political stripes with Obama's current unease with Congress.
...when [Obama] noted with asperity that he would not debate Congress again over paying its bills, he dug into his revulsion at playing the game, his reluctance to even fake the flattering, schmoozing and ring-kissing needed to coax Congress into doing what he wants. ...
“His inability to engage the politicians here has been a real liability,” one Democratic lawmaker complained. ...
Obama radiates contempt at Congress for not being a bunch of high-minded, effective people, and for expecting him to clean up its mess. He thinks reasonable people should see things his way in a reasonable amount of time, and gets impatient when ideology, ego, identity politics and pork-project whining hold up progress.
Biden is a realist. He understands lawmakers’ limitations, motivations and needs. He leans right in and speaks — and speaks and speaks — their language. That’s who he is. And he believes, as creaky and unwieldy as the system is, that it still has integrity.
It should be remembered that almost immediately after being sworn in in 2009, the first people Obama reached out to were the conservative pundits like George Will. This pissed off liberals because he practically ignored them for the first few years in office after the hard work they did for him to get him elected. And how did the conservative pundits react to Obama's attempt to reach out to them? They complained that Obama refused to reach out to them.
Considering the deep animosity, bordering on hatred, the right has shown Obama ever since he was sworn in, is it any wonder Obama wants nothing to do with those spoiled adolescents?! These are people who threaten to crash our economy and send our economy spinning back into recession if they don't get their way! Who in their right mind wants to spend even a few minutes with these domestic terrorists? However, he found that Joe Biden is more pragmatic and is able to hold his nose and negotiate with them (and since he's not a scary black man he has even been successful).
I got a kick out of this in Dowd's column: "The president and his staff seem clueless about what Republicans on the Hill are thinking." I know what she means. I feel the same way whenever extreme right-wingers like Dan Doty leave a comment on this blog. It's like we live in completely different countries, or even different planets!
Dowd's column is worth reading, and as usual many of the comments are very perceptive (the difference between the NYTime's comments and the WaPost's comments is diamonds to coal).