Pulling plug on congressional picnic might backfire for Obama
June 13, 2013 11:33 PM | 2014 views | 1 1 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama basically derailed his “charm offensive” — not that this particular P.R. operation was having its desired effect anyway — by postponing until fall the annual White House congressional picnic.

The event is traditionally held in June. Lawmakers’ children are out of school then, and congressional spouses who live back in their districts can more easily attend. Congress’ work schedule, involving more days in session than usual for lawmakers, is also a factor.

It’s an informal event and one that has assumed a certain bipartisan importance since the members of the two parties don’t mix or socialize after work the way they used to. And the harsh campaign taskmasters who have set up the congressional schedule, especially the House’s, have designed it so that even in one of the rare full workweeks, members are out of the capital on Friday morning and not due back until midday Monday.

In a terse notice Monday afternoon, the White House Office of Legislative Affairs simply said that the event would not take place this month, but, “We are hopeful that we will be able to reschedule this event for September.”

House Speaker John Boehner called the decision “just silly.”

One theory, more popular among Republicans than Democrats, was that the picnic was canceled to dramatize the folly of the sequester, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts Washington is struggling with.

But the congressional picnic is hardly a high-dollar event — hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks and beer. Besides, the president could easily pay for it out of his $50,000 nontaxable expense account or his $19,000 official entertainment account, sums constitutionally protected from the sequester.

Few Washingtonians are so jaded that they are not thrilled by an invitation to the White House, and that is equally true for members of Congress. Fairly or unfairly, Obama has a reputation for being aloof and not a skilled practitioner of the backslapping bonhomie of the congressional cloakroom.

Postponing a traditional event popular with Congress on short notice — and with no explanation — is likely one reason why.
Comments
(1)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
I would bet $10
|
June 14, 2013
That if he had held the congressional picnic, this editorial would have blamed him for hosting it. You would have said that it was a waste of tax payer money and probably would have thrown in somewhere that he is a socialist. You will find fault in everything that he does. It is the typical republican rhetoric..."WAHH WAHH"
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides