Share

Evan Thomas: 'Cocky,' 'self-involved' Obama should golf with Congress

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

President Obama's super-secret practice of golfing just with donors, friends and underlings is coming under fire from an unsual source: Former Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas.

The Daily Beast contributor who once called Obama a "sort of God" is blasting the president for being "cocky," "peevish," "crotchety," and "self-involved," when it comes to dealing with Congress and he recommends an about-face to being more like laid-back former President Dwight Eisenhower.

Writing in Washingtonian, Thomas, the author of a new Ike biography, advised Obama to kiss up to lawmakers, maybe even golf with a few, to help his chances of having a successful second term. "He might take a page from Eisenhower," wrote Thomas. "By showing modesty and restraint, by keeping his ego in check and working behind the scenes, Ike was able to accomplish a great deal."

But, he added, self restraint isn't something Obama is known for.

In the article headlined "Be like Ike," Thomas wrote: "Barack Obama has many qualities, but humility doesn't appear to be one of them. During his first term, he often came across as cocky or crotchety about getting his way. Even when he signaled a willingness to meet his opponents halfway, he could seem peevish. After he won reelection, he seemed to take his victory as a personal vindication, not as a chance to come together."

While Obama has golfed with Congress' No. 1 duffer, Speaker John Boehner, once, Thomas joins with others calling on more outings where the president might be able to build relationships with both friends and foes.

Citing the Ike model, Thomas wrote, "Obama is never going to be a glad-handing golf buddy. It's not his style. But Eisenhower, who didn't like to be touched, wasn't exactly a backslapper, either. Rather, he was able to convey a genial, open humility, a kind of guilelessness. Yes, it was partly an act--Eisenhower, Richard Nixon once said, "was a more complex and devious man than most people realize"--but all good actors become comfortable in their role over time. Part of the job of president is to set a style, to project a way of being. Eisenhower was confident but never self-important. Rather, he had the confidence to be humble."