Obama turns on the charm

After four years and a couple of months in office, President Barack Obama is showing signs he has figured out how this job works.

Last week, instead of traveling the country and publicly blasting his critics and opponents in Congress, Obama turned on the charm. He invited Congressional leaders like House Tax Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan and others to lunch and dinner, actually having conversations with them about the issues that have divided them. This week he is planning three visits to Capitol Hill to visit with the House and Senate Republican and Democratic caucuses.

We hope he is going to the Hill to engage conversations, to listen to the members rather than lecture them.

Obama should have been doing this all along. Government is not an arm-wrestling competition. A president can’t make members of Congress do his bidding. He has to persuade them, and people you have befriended are more amenable to persuasion than those you have been publicly vilifying.

The president has a lot of fence mending to do. His charm offensive is going to have to be a prolonged effort, not just something he’ll try for a couple of weeks.

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