Of everyone in Washington, he’s in the best position to move Republicans and Democrats toward solutions, especially on jobs.
Like the snowfall on the nation’s capital, talk of bipartisanship blankets Washington. Gestures are being made. Grievances are being aired. Some bits of joint legislation are even taking shape.
The potential exists for a more harmonious working together – most importantly on joblessness, which has ticked down slightly to 9.7 percent.
But partisan winds still blow. Many members of Congress face highly competitive midterm elections, with the recent loss of the Democratic supermajority in the Senate showing both sides how much is at stake. Across the country, tea partyers stir their cups of populist outrage. And it’s so easy to fall back on the caustic rhetoric of recent years – to pelt ice balls and barricade oneself behind snow forts.
One person in Washington is in a better position than others to work against these forces, and that’s President Obama. He is not up for election this year. As he has said many times, he is the president of all Americans. Change is his mantra.
Since his State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama is reaching out to the GOP in visible ways. He’s invited some Republicans to watch the Super Bowl at the White House, and he plans to have them up to Camp David. That sounds perhaps frivolous, but socializing is one way to build trust, and Washington doesn’t see much cross-party chit-chat anymore.