- A Modern Day Eugene Debs
- GOP Candidates Take Different View of Heroin Crisis
- Cruz’s Myth of GOP Presidential Politics
- The End of McCain-Feingold?
- Since When Did Presidential Candidates Curse?
Posted at 3:59 p.m. on April 12, 2013
Evidence that the Obama charm offensive is starting to pay legislative dividends becomes available by comparing three lists: the 12 GOP senators who dined with the president last week, the 12 others whom Obama treated to supper a month ago, and the 16 Republicans who voted Thursday to begin debating gun violence legislation.
Among that last group of 16, all but three had attended one of those dinners, where the Senate guests were chosen mainly for their perceived willingness to entertain ideas for a budget deal.
Nine senators were guests in March at the Jefferson Hotel dinner, where the president launched his overt new effort to improve legislative relations:
Four more Republican votes he secured from the roster of people he entertained at the White House just 12 hours before the vote:
Maybe the dinner fare had something with it: Senators at the hotel supper had a choice of four appetizers including crab risotto; entrée choices of roasted striped bass, grilled lamb, beef filet or lobster thermidor; and for desert peanut butter crumble, chocolate tart or an “iced Tahitian vanilla and praline bar.” The White House menu, by contrast, was the same for everyone: a relatively pedestrian grilled and sliced ribeye, sautéed vegetables, green salad and coconut sorbet with pineapple.
In any event, it’s impossible to view their cloture votes as a coincidence. It’s more likely that Obama’s good-food-and-candid-conversation strategy has helped him find the baker’s dozen who are most likely to break with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his super-conservative rank-and-file. They won’t vote that way as a group or all of the time, of course. But perhaps enough of them will, especially on the top-tier items that could make or break the president’s second-term legislative legacy.
And the other three senators who voted to advance the gun bill?
In the immortal words of comedian Red Buttons: They never got a dinner!