Less than two months on the job, President Donald Trump is showing that when it comes to wooing members of Congress, he’s no Barack Obama.Oooh, Trump's not like that self-important snob Obama! And bowling! The quintessential blue-collar sport (if you're stuck in a 1950s time warp)! The Maureen Dowd columns practically write themselves.
Where Obama was usually reserved and met sparingly with lawmakers, Trump has launched a full-out charm offensive, much of it aimed at bolstering the beleaguered Republican Obamacare plan.
... The Republican vote-counters who met with Trump on Tuesday came away impressed by his openness and spontaneity.
As they introduced themselves one-by-one around a long table at the White House, Trump suddenly chimed in.
“Youngest woman ever elected to Congress!” the president blurted out just before the 32-year-old Representative Elise Stefanik of New York managed to give out her name, according to Cole.
“He’s great like that. He’s interacting with members. He’s funny,” said [Oklahoma congressman Tom] Cole, who had himself been greeted by Trump in a personal fashion earlier.
... On Thursday, Republican Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and other lawmakers are headed to the White House for a bowling outing -- during which Trump is expected to make an appearance, said Kelly’s spokesman Tom Qualtere.
Kelly was one of the earliest House Trump supporters. But Qualtere said he understands this is the beginning of what could be monthly, or even weekly, bowling get-togethers for lawmakers at the executive residence.
By contrast, Obama had a reputation for keeping lawmakers -- both Republicans and fellow Democrats -- at a distance, rather than cultivating friendships or personal relationships on either side of the aisle. Obama’s aides downplayed that criticism as unfair.
... Cole, who said he had a good relationship with Obama, said he thinks Trump actually enjoys his interactions with lawmakers....
Some of us may assume that the health care bill is dead on arrival, but given the way it's being rammed through Congress, it really might pass. (By the way, where are all the protests and demonstrations that should have accompanied the bill's rollout? Where's the outrage from Democratic members of Congress, who seem more muted in their criticism than Republican skeptics? Has the resistance petered out already?)
if the bill does pass, the lovestruck media is going to start portraying Trump as the greatest presidential arm-twister since Lyndon Johnson. Even if it fails, the blame may fall to Paul Ryan, while Trump gets credit for being the president-we'd-like-to-have-a-beer-with that the media has been craving since George W. Bush's heyday.
Let's not allow that to happen. Get angry. Get your neighbors angry. Motivate your members of Congress to get angry (or to be afraid of popular anger). This bill must suffer an ignominious defeat.