Obama’s Jeffersonian moment
- 20 jawans feared dead as Naxals attack CRPF convoy in Chhattisgarh
- Missing Malaysia airline: Man travelling on stolen passport identified as Iranian
- Bhagwat cautions RSS cadres against crossing limits for BJP
- Arvind Kejriwal accused of influencing TV interview
- Dalit teen canât pay to cheat in exam, immolates himself
Here is a modest proposal, one drawn from the presidency of another tall, cool, cerebral politician-writer: use the White House and the president's personal company to attempt to weave attachments and increase a sense of common purpose in the capital. Dinners with the president — or breakfast or lunch or coffee or drinks or golf — won't create a glorious bipartisan Valhalla, but history suggests that at least one of our greatest presidents mastered the means of entertaining to political effect.
During both of his terms, on the eve of each Congressional session, President Thomas Jefferson warned friends that, in our vernacular, he was about to go offline.
Hours that Jefferson might have devoted to seeing friends in Washington or to writing letters were to be consumed instead by his pursuit of a fairly constant campaign of using his social hours — and particularly his dinner table — as a way of making the rougher edges of politics smooth. He believed that sociability was essential to republicanism. Jefferson's dinner campaigns were intensely practical.
He believed in constant conversation between the president and lawmakers, for "if the members are to know nothing but what is important enough to be put in a public message," Jefferson wrote, "it becomes a government of chance and not of design." The Jefferson strategy largely worked.
Yet Jefferson could be ruthless about the use of his limited time in power. He chose, then, to use dinner at the President's House to put himself and his own agenda at the centre of things.
JON MEACHAM is the author of 'Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power'
- Eight held for ‘attacking’ Dalit wedding procession in Sabarkantha
- 90 airports on alert to check movement of cash ahead of elections
- Notices to 23 hospitals for withdrawing facility
- Sindhis threaten to move HC if Sindhu Sagar not cleaned
- In Mumbai, teacher’s love story with student ends in her arrest
- Govt dismisses AAP allegations
- AAP workers stage protest outside Kejriwal’s residence over ticket distribution
- BJP boycotts NDTV over news gaffe | The Indian Express
- Out of the promised 50,000 homes for the poor, not even 50 constructed in Gujarat by BJP: Kejriwal
- Kejriwal Gujarat tour: The unfamiliar politician | The Indian Express