Monday, Dec. 28, 2009

Wooing Official Washington

In 2008 the country clearly craved new leadership that would sweep into the capital and change the ways of Washington. But politically and personally, the First Couple and their top aides have shown no hankering for the Establishment seal of approval, nor have they accepted the glut of invitations to embassy parties and other tribal rituals of the political class. In the sphere of Washington glitter, the Clintons were clumsy and the Bush team indifferent, but the Obama Administration has turned a cold shoulder, disappointing Beltway salons and newsrooms whose denizens hoped the über-cool newbies would play. Spokesman Robert Gibbs, one of the most genial people in politics, epitomizes the problem; his daily prickly back-and-forths with reporters have left most of the press corps (a notoriously demanding group requiring intense care and constant feeding) griping about his performance.