Those Senate Republicans, up to their old tricks again. Like that obnoxious and hyper-partisan rim on the White House basketball court, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) dealt another unfair blow to the president’s quest to win athletic events in public when he and partner Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) bested Obama, who is well-known for his golfing habit, but not for his skill.
This afternoon, the President, who has the highest handicap of the foursome, paired with up Senator Udall, who has the lowest. Senators Chambliss and Corker, aided by Chambliss’s hole-in-one on the 11th, won the match.
The President enjoyed the chance to spend some time on the golf course with the Senators. Most of the talk centered on the round of golf and not the latest round of legislative negotiations in Congress. The President was pleased that the rain held off, despite the damp forecast.
Question: If the only witnesses to one’s hole-in-one are the president and a handful of senators, do we consider that more or less reliable than the average golfer’s Saturday drinking buddies? At any rate, congrats to Chambliss. Not a bad occasion to hit a humdinger like that. I hope he brushed his shoulders off. If I know anything about the president’s charm offensives, this will be the greatest accomplishment to come of it.
Now the President is searching for allies amongst his old colleagues to help move an immigration reform bill, a grand bargain budget deal, and maybe even revisit the gun control package later this year. Without GOP support, he will be the “lame duck” political commentators have started naming him after only 126 days into his second term.
He has his work cut out for him. Besides the gun control debate, Corker, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said that Obama’s new appointment to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), “Gives new meaning to the adage that the fox is guarding the hen house.” Corker has also recently hit the President on the alleged massive cash payments to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and has asked the President to consult Congress before extending U.S. involvement in Syria.
Chambliss, who is retiring in 2014, urged the President to deem Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber, an “enemy combatant,” which the White House declined to do, and voted against Obama’s nominee for CIA director John Brennan. Chambliss, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also has questioned the President on Syria.
Obama’s effort isn’t hopeless, though. Corker has said that he is “optimistic” about the possibility of passing meaningful comprehensive immigration reform. Chambliss, who was booed in Georgia following his initial support of the 2007 immigration reform bill, now believes that his constituents have changed their minds. “If we’re going to get the Hispanic vote we can’t be anti-Hispanics,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution back in February. Mark Udall is a critical supporter of immigration reform from a purple state.