Columbia Journalism Review: In Hollywood and the accounts of many of the nation’s leading journalists, events in Washington revolve around the president, who is thought to have virtually unlimited powers to cajole, charm, threaten, or bribe legislators into enacting his agenda. Within this framework, the success or failure of the president’s legislative agenda is typically attributed to his tactics, not contextual factors like party support in Congress.
In reality, the idea that the President can force an uncooperative Congress to do his bidding has been falsified over and over again—not just during President Obama’s administration on issues like gun control, but during previous presidencies. Even Lyndon Baines Johnson, the prototypical presidential wheeler-dealer, became far less persuasive when the national political climate changed after the 1966 midterm elections (one aide commented that by the end LBJ “couldn’t get Mother’s Day through” Congress). And yet journalists and commentators still try to defend their misguided notions of presidential power, suggesting instead that, for instance, Obama is being held back by a lack of personal charm or a failure to twist enough arms in Congress.
KRDO (Colorado Springs, CO): The first lady and Jill Biden pushed companies to continue hiring veterans and their spouses. According to the Associated Press, 1 million members of the military are expected to join the civilian workforce over the next five years. Michelle Obama said companies have hired or trained 290,000 veterans in less than two years. However, she said, there is still work to be done. Statistics show the unemployment rate among veterans is lower than non-veterans.
Jill Biden said there are initiatives in Washington working to help military spouses as well called Military Spouse Employment Partnership. “This effort has helped spouses build strong resumes, has sponsored hiring fairs and created strong resume programs. Since its launch, more than 160 Fortune 500 employers have signed on to the partnership,” said Biden. “More than 43,000 military spouses have been hired.”
Pikes Peak Workforce Center is hosting a job fair geared toward veterans May 15-17 at Pikes Peak Community College. Amthor said 100 local and national companies have already signed on. Here is a link for more information on the job fair: http://mvee.org/
Kevin Drum: President Obama said today that he believes there are some Republicans in Congress who’d like to compromise with him to enact “common sense” solutions to America’s problems. I’m sympathetic, because I agree. I don’t think that Republicans have declined to make a budget deal because Obama didn’t schmooze them enough, or because they didn’t understand what he was offering, or because Democrats haven’t framed their compromise proposals quite right. Republicans have declined to make a deal because they don’t like any of the deals Obama is willing to make. Full stop. Unfortunately, I think Ed falls into the same trap when he suggests that Obama’s dinners with senators have gone quite far enough, thankyouverymuch.
All of which gets us to the guts of the problem: most likely, nothing is going to work. But if you’re the president, you can’t say that. You can’t even act like it. You have to go out day after day after day insisting that progress is possible and deals can be made. This gets you lots of flak from fellow lefties who think it displays terminal naiveté, but what choice do you have? Obama pretty obviously understands everything that his lefty critics understand—he’s not an idiot, and this is hardly rocket science, after all—but he also understands one other thing: he can’t admit it. I imagine it’s frustrating as hell. But like it or not, presidents have to keep their chin up in public and keep trying to make things happen, even if they know perfectly well that success is unlikely. Welcome to hell.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, April 18, on their way to Boston for a memorial service for the victims of the bombings
A week ago, this was the President’s schedule….
Monday: The President will welcome the BCS National Champion, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, to the White House. Later, he will participate in an ambassador credentialing ceremony * Tuesday: The President will hold a working lunch with Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. Later, he will welcome NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski to the White House * Wednesday: The President will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House * Thursday and Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
…… how things changed
The White House flag lowered to half-mast after the Boston bombings
President Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (Photo by Pete Souza)