February 22nd, 2010


Camaraderie begins at home

Reading Ted Kennedy's autobiography, and Sen. Bayh's op-ed piece in the Times the other day, and several other pieces of the years, I was struck by the comments that one of the reasons for the decline in bipartisanship in Washington DC is that Republicans and Democrats no longer socialize with one another.

So it struck me -- no one dares ignore an invitation to the White House, right? So if Pres. Obama wants to be postpartisan, what would happen if he were to re-establish the sorts of dinners for which Katherine Graham was famous? Let's say he has an off-the-record informal dinner at the White House every week for 8 Democrats, 8 Republicans, and a Supreme Court Justice every now and then. Let's assume that the guests would be selected based on whom the White House staff thinks would actually enjoy one another's company.

Sure, it wouldn't have an immediate effect. But what if it slowly resurrected the idea that our elected representatives and Senators could sometimes deal with each other as people and not as adversarial abstractions?