Linda Ornt: Obama needs to mingle

October 6, 2013 

Obama’s high horse

I recently read biographies of U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Dwight Eisenhower. What struck me about both men was how they managed to work with a Congress predominantly of members from the opposing party. In both cases, they found a way to break through the opposition by getting to know the other side.

Jefferson invited Congress to dinner at the White House (at that time a home under construction). Over food and claret, Jefferson managed to forge an agreement.

Ike was an avid golfer. So he invited members of the opposition to join him in a game, on the White House lawn, at Camp David and sometimes in their hometowns. It gave him an opportunity to get to know them, where they came from and how they operated.

President Obama has had dinner with many pop stars and played golf with Tiger Woods, but how many members of Congress have had a casual one-on-one with him? Especially those from the other side of the aisle? It’s hard to govern from a pedestal.

Maybe Obama needs to get down from his high horse and ask the Republicans to lunch or to a pick-up game of basketball so they can discuss things away from the stress of the job.

Linda Ornt

Raleigh

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