Loop Quote(s) of the Week: House Dems lament Obama silent treatment


President Obama smiles after signing into law the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) on Feb. 4, 2009. Surrounding Obama, from left, are Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) (Lawrence Jackson/AP)

It’s a narrative that’s been explored before. Congressional Democrats feel slighted, ignored, cast aside by their president.

In February 2013, the Atlantic even did a round-up of news headlines about the imperfect relationship after Politico blasted a story chock-full of quotes from frustrated Democrats who wanted President Obama to engage with them more.

A year and a half later, it appears that relations have not improved much. And Democratic lawmakers are holding less back in their critiques of the White House’s less-than-stellar communication efforts.

The Hill newspaper got some bitter quotes from House Democrats for a story published Thursday that underscores the depth of the frustrations with Obama and his team. These blunt quotes win the Loop’s Quote(s) of the Week award:

“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.

“Certainly, Bill Clinton saw us as his offensive line, and so he attended to the nurturing of his offensive line,” [Rep. Jim] Moran (D-Va.) 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.”

There’s been much written and analyzed asking why Obama doesn’t consult, socialize and develop relationships with his allies in Congress.  Is it his distant personality? Is it because no amount of consultation with them will change the outcome of a House Republican majority unwilling to budge? Or is there another unexplored reason why the one-mile stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between the two institutions may as well be an ocean?

Whatever the reason, Obama’s relationship with Congress generally shows no signs of improving.

But not every Democrat is harboring hurt feelings because they didn’t get a birthday call or asked their opinion on a policy point.

Sharing the Loop Quote Winner crown is Rep. Mike Quigley (R-Ill.) who hails from Obama’s hometown:

“[With] some of my colleagues, I feel like I’m back in high school, right? It’s, ‘Oh, he didn’t smile at me. He didn’t do a photo with me. He didn’t invite me to the Super Bowl party,’ ” Quigley said. “Who cares? What are you, 12? … We’ve got important stuff to do.”

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · August 14