I’m skimming Bob Woodward’s book on the Obama Administration – The Price of Politics. I’ve read his books for years. They’re dry recitations of his reporting, utterly passionless and very readable.
In the last few years though, he’s begun to sound a bit like the ‘get off my lawn’ guy (encroaching on traditional McCain territory!). Still, he writes a good book. So I sat down and I began.
By page 20, Woodward is giving credence to a complaint uttered by Eric Cantor after the vote on HR1, the first bill of that congress, Obama’s stimulus package. Cantor had whipped the congressional Republicans so effectively that not a single one of them voted for the bill. Not one.
What. . . surprised Cantor was how badly the White House had played what should have been a winning hand. Though Obama won the vote, he had unified and energized the losers (really? he was the one that did it?). . . . he had actually pushed them away . . . there had been no sincere contact, no inclusiveness, no real listening.
The vote, and Cantor’s complaint, came on January 28, 2009, eight days after Obama was inaugurated. A period during which Obama had met three times with the House leadership – including Cantor.