I am thinking at this moment of an earlier era when presidents and members of Congress reached across the great partisan divide to ponder their joint legislative agendas.
The thought came to me when I heard that Donald J. Trump is going to meet this week with Republican congressional leaders to talk about upcoming projects.
No Democrats need not attend. Nope! Stay away, you folks. We don’t need you.
I’ll go back a few decades for a moment.
* Lyndon Johnson needed Republicans to help him enact landmark civil-rights legislation.
* Richard Nixon needed Democrats to run interference for his environmental agenda.
* Ronald Reagan developed a great personal and professional relationship with congressional Democrats, such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill.
* Bill Clinton relied on congressional Republicans to assist in producing a balanced federal budget.
* George W. Bush sought Democratic help in crafting education overhaul legislation. I should add that President Bush had plenty of practice working with Democrats, as he did quite well in that regard while he governed Texas and became partners with Democrats who controlled the Legislature.
That’s when it seemed to end. Barack Obama didn’t develop many relationships with key Republicans, who — lest we forget — made clear their intention to block damn near everything the president intended to accomplish. And now we have Donald Trump seeking to push through a legislative agenda with zero Democrats in his corner.
I also recall those photo ops when presidents would sign bills in front of large bipartisan gatherings of lawmakers. He’d hand out ceremonial pens left and right. They’d all clap and slap each other on the back while extolling the virtues of working together for the common good.
Do you expect to see anything like that with the current president occupying that office in the White House?
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