The Schmooze Factor - Obama, Boehner and McCarthy
October 14, 2015
For years now we have heard that Obama would be more effective as a leader if he were to be more socially engaging with both Republican and Democratic leaders. Joe Scarborough (Morning Joe – MSNBC) said that Obama was a “lousy leader” because he was not schmoozing enough with members of Congress. We learned about offended Republicans and whining Democrats who, we were lead to believe, would have agreed with most of his positions if there was wine, golf, movies, breakfasts, selfies - - -something that connoted chumminess. Jon Meacham suggested he should emulate Jefferson; others have frequently compared him unfavorably with Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton. The well-held idea was that Obama was an elite, cold fish who was sacrificing his success for family time and for allowing his introvert impulses to overcome effectiveness.
So, now we look at John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy – scoring high on any schmooze-meter. Did Boehner not golf enough, share drinks enough, and engage enough? By any measure he was socially successful, yet was humiliated again and again as he could not lead the House Republicans on any issue. Kevin McCarthy was so much more than a social pal. He did not just dine with members, he recruited and nurtured the new careers of so many members, yet he could not even get adequate support to take the gavel. Are we now to believe -- if Paul Ryan is willing to risk career suicide for the welfare of his party-- that he will succeed as Speaker because he is well-liked?