Sure, Obama attacked Boehner by name shortly before the election, saying he had "no new policies." And yes, Boehner returned the favor by blasting Obama's "job-killing policies." True, they don't exactly see eye to eye on the proper size of government, on tax policy, on regulation, on Wall Street reform, on health care reform or on much of anything else, for that matter.
But the fact is that the two do share a lot in common that could help them bridge the divide and, as Boehner put it, get to work enacting "the people's agenda."
Here's a rundown:
In true American fashion, both Obama and Boehner come from modest roots. Obama, the only child of a single mom, spent much of his youth being raised by his working-class grandparents in Honolulu. Boehner is the son of a tavern owner, where he started working at age 8.
A Passion for Golf
Obama and Boehner also share a passion for golf -- bordering on addiction. In fact, both have taken lumps for spending too much time on the links. But, as Jack Nicklaus wisely instructs, "Golf teaches you how to behave." That should prove helpful in the years ahead.
An Addiction to Cigarettes
Both are also smokers who are also quite adept at hiding their habit from the public (thus no pictures). And as any smoker or ex-smoker knows, there's nothing quite as bonding as huddling together in a dreary designated smoking area getting your nicotine fix. Obama, at least, says he's trying to quit, which gives them still more to talk about!
Two Daughters Each
Turns out Obama and Boehner also each have two daughters. Children are always good ice breakers, and surely Boehner, whose daughters, Lindsay and Tricia, are grown, can offer Obama some pointers on raising his girls, Malia and Sasha.
The Ohio Connection
Did you also know that Boehner was born and raised in Ohio, a state that calls itself the "mother of presidents," since more presidents are from there -- depending on how you count William Henry Harrison -- than anywhere else? And, Obama is president. Amazing!
The Language Bond
The ability to communicate their positions succinctly is another trait the two politicians share. Why, just look at how each effectively employs the word "can" to maximum effect in these two video clips -- the first shows Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, and the second features Boehner just before the health care reform vote in early 2010.
And, finally, both leaders are just about equally pigmented. Now, before you get all mad at us for bringing it up, keep in mind that both Obama and Boehner have already cracked wise about Boehner's perpetually deep tan. Obama once joked that Boehner is a "person of color." Boehner later responded, "You only tease the ones you love."
By the way, if you don't think any of this superficial stuff matters, keep in mind that nobody thought President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich would be able to get along after the Republicans took control of the House in 1994.
But they, too, had much in common -- they were both portly, prematurely gray politicians from the South who had, shall we say, marital issues -- and look what they accomplished together: balanced budget, welfare reform, Medicare reform, tax cuts and two major health reform laws, among others.
So fear not people, with these two leaders -- Obama and Boehner -- in Washington, your agenda is in good hands.
Editor's note: In the original version of this piece, William Henry Harrison was incorrectly identified as having been born in Ohio. He was born in Virginia, but lived primarily in Ohio.