Obama: Your Own Party Hates You, What Went Wrong?

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Win McNamee/Getty Images

For President Barack Obama, schmoozing with elected officials is like eating spinach. “This is not something that he loves. He wasn’t that kind of senator,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told The New York Times back in August.

Obama is more of a loner than a social animal, as he makes only to clear in is book Dreams From My Father, in which he wrote that during his time in school he was “prone to see other people as unnecessary distractions.” But being a loner isn’t always a good thing when you’re working in politics. It helps to be well spoken, careful, exact, and intelligent, but when we talk about politicians, you’d better be ready to kiss babies and charm your way past rough patches. At least, that’s always the stereotype we’ve been led to expect. It’s hardly surprising that so many politicians have been actors, as IMDB shows us.

Truth be told, not all politicians have been charmers, historically, and not all of their behavior has been charming. Some of them have been grumpy old men with odd habits; Calvin Coolidge slept ten hours a day and enjoyed having Vaseline rubbed into his head, John Adams liked to skinny dip every morning in the Potomac river, and there have been plenty or presidents with personality quirks that made them difficult to work with.

That said, Obama has a practically frosty relationship with Congress these days — there’s ice crystals forming on his pen and telephone receiver — and that extends to his relationship with his own party.