House Democrats wonder why Obama doesn't talk to them

Democrats in the House of Representativese are bemoaning the lack of communication with the president and wonder openly if he just has a lot of disdain for the legislative branch.

Gee, Ya think?

The Hill:

“It's hard for us to fathom; I mean, is it just lack of full staffing and resources? [Is it] professional commitment? Is it a disdain for the legislative branch? I mean, what is it?” asked Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “People like me want to be allies — I mean, I am an ally. So work with us, reach out to us; you know, we're not the enemy.”

Connolly emphasized that he has "no complaints" with the administration's outreach when it comes to logistics and political operations. But as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he's long-been frustrated by the White House’s approach to "the bread-and-butter of congressional relations and the policy front."  

“That’s made our jobs harder,” he said.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, lamented what he characterized as a history of the White House dropping its plans on congressional Democrats without warning.

“Not being consulted ahead of time — that just makes people crazy,” Grijalva said. “Let us know ahead of time. Call us in when you're developing something so we can give you our ground-level reality check about how this is going to work.”

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) likened the relationship between presidents and their Capitol Hill allies to that between quarterbacks and the offensive linemen charged with protecting them. Some quarterbacks, he said, simply manage that alliance better than others.

“Certainly, Bill Clinton saw us as his offensive line, and so he attended to the nurturing of his offensive line,” Moran said. “And I don't think this president, this quarterback, invests all that much time and effort into the care and feeding of his offensive line.

“You can still win,” Moran added. “It just makes it a little more difficult.”

It's one of Washington's worst-kept secrets that many Democrats have, for years, been frustrated by what they consider a lackluster communications operation between Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill. 

It's actually worse than that. I have acquaintences on Capitol Hill who go back 30 years and who say they've never seen such an incompetent, arrogant congressional relations shop. We saw this during the painfully amateurish way the debate over Obamacare unfolded. Democratic members were given little direction from the White House and there was virtually no outreach. Obama pretty much let Hill Dems write the bill without the help of the White House.

Obama doesn't appear to like congressmen that much, viewing them as lesser creatures who should adore him and support him without question. Judging by the way most Democrats appear to be miffed by his aloofness, the president is likely to finish his term as unpopular in his own party as he is with the opposition.


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