Democracy Soup

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Obama in Paris: Sen. Grassley Gets Twitter, But Not Importance of World Travel

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Originally published on on Mon, 06/08/2009 – 12:48pm

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been a U.S. Senator since 1981 and has been in Congress since 1975. So we won’t assume we know more about how bills are passed than Sen. Grassley does.

But Grassley seemed rather concerned that President Obama wasn’t helping Congress on a health care bill, so much so that the 75-year-old senator went to the logical platform to let us know: the Twitter.

“Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”

If Schoolhouse Rock taught us anything, bills go through Congress first and then they go to the president. We assume Grassley knows this.

Then again, according to this article from The Associated Press, perhaps Grassley doesn’t want Obama to be involved:

But Obama’s increased involvement appears to be diminishing chances for bipartisanship, not improving them. Grassley and other Republicans were also angered when Obama released a letter last week coming down strongly in favor of a new public insurance plan.

If you’re not mixed up by now, you are likely taking extra-strength Dramamine.

The follow-up tweet gave us a little more insight as to what was troubling the senior senator from Iowa.

“Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”

So Sen. Grassley doesn’t like working on the weekend, but if he does, he doesn’t like being a nail. But what Grassley seems most upset about is Obama being in Paris.

As this reporter found out first hand for the first time in late April and early May this year, Paris is awesome. Paris in springtime is even more awesome.

Often when presidents and other major dignitaries travel to foreign countries, they go straight to meetings and events. Everything is so tightly scheduled with little time for any real activity with actual people in a foreign country.

The beauty of going to Paris isn’t just seeing the Eiffel Tower or climbing several hundred steps to the top of Notre Dame. Travel is also supposed to be about interacting with people in scenarios different from what you experience at home.

By dining in a Paris bistro near the Eiffel Tower, President Obama could even run into people who could tell you first-hand that health care in France is great, or not great. People can express opinions in a way that dignitaries might not feel comfortable in conveying.

We have blasted the previous White House occupant for living too much in a bubble, to not have a single clue as to what people thought outside a tiny circle. By contrast, we want, nay we need, a president who will communicate with people outside that bubble. When Obama made a February trip to Ottawa, Canada, he stopped off to buy some baked goods, understanding the need for interaction with regular people.

Obama is not the first target of Grassley’s obsession with what he perceives as costly junkets. In April 2005, then Pentagon inspector general Stephen Schmitz cancelled a $16,000 trip to Germany after Grassley complained that the junket wouldn’t look good for someone in his position.

But Obama was in France for the D-Day ceremonies, so a side trip to Paris wasn’t a stretch. And we do have an expectation that the family members of the First Family will do some traveling around the world, especially if a spouse (Hillary Clinton) or a child (George W. Bush) of a president someday runs for president.

In terms of doing a good job as president of the United States, you can learn a lot more sitting in a Parisian bistro than clearing brush on a ranch.


Written by democracysoup

June 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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