Reflecting the relative ineffectiveness of a gridlocked Congress that has managed to get little done over the past two years, Congresspersons from both parties aren’t getting much attention from President Obama these days—and they aren’t happy about it.
In a story on Politico.com, the politicians acknowledge their irrelevance at the same time as they fault Obama for not reaching out to them as much as he did in the first two years of his presidency, when Democrats had control of both Houses of Congress. But with Republicans in control of the House and adamant about not giving Obama any legislative victories in an election year that might help him—victories might also help the American people, but that apparently is nowhere near the top of the Republicans’ priority list—the president has very little reason to waste time courting folks who don’t have the power to get anything accomplished.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) conceded this when he told Politico, “There was a while for various reasons where groups of us were coming to the White House for meetings for one kind or another, but … he’s busy. I’m afraid that may be related to the feeling that not much is actually going to get done here.”
While Washington insiders like to point to the president’s so-called aloofness as a reason, Democrats counter that when Obama does get more involved on Capitol Hill, Republicans start taking shots at him and trying to embarrass him by walking away from negotiations—like Speaker John Boehner did during the debt ceiling talks.
There’s also another factor at play here: Congress is enormously unpopular across the nation, meaning Obama—whose popularity is soaring compared to Congress—may want to avoid Congressional members as much as possible.