Lone Ranger Obama to do some fundraising for fellow Democrats
posted at 12:01 pm on February 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Begrudgingly, I wouldn’t doubt.
President Obama isn’t exactly known for being a “team player” when it comes to both national and intra-Hill politics; The One apparently doesn’t much care for niceties and schmoozing, preferring to spend his leisure time with his close group of buddies and cohorts. Many of his fellow Democrats in Congress have just not been feeling the love from their leader over the years, and are aggravated at his lack of interest in them or their unique political concerns, via Politico:
As Obama prepares an aggressive public lobbying campaign for his ambitious second-term agenda, Democrats on Capitol Hill are bluntly warning him that he has to do more to engage them if he expects his congressional allies to take a series of politically tough votes.
Interviews with dozens of members of Congress and senior aides reveal frustration and in some cases exasperation that a president who came from the Senate has no apparent appetite for cultivating relationships on Capitol Hill. …
The focus on socializing is tangential to a much more central problem: It’s not that Obama never invites them up for Camp David weekends or over for White House movie screenings, it’s that many fellow Democrats believe he’s out for himself and detached from broader party and member interests.
And it isn’t just his personal-level neglect that has Democrats feeling annoyed. Mr. “Collective Action” didn’t much bother to involve himself in campaigning for others in his party leading up to the 2010 midterms (although, perhaps his team sensed the inevitable sea change and just didn’t want to get involved with that hot mess), and during the 2012 campaign season, Team Obama made it crystal clear that they were looking out for number one and had no intention of diverting any time, money, or resources for Democrats in tough races — straight up.
His decision to morph his campaign machinery into a personal advocacy group didn’t do much to put him back in Democrats’ good graces, either; many are concerned that the well-resourced group will siphon donations away from Democratic candidates in the lead-up to the 2014 midterms.
That I-do-what-I-want attitude isn’t going to fly as easily this time around, and it looks like the White House knows it, reports the NJ:
So the fact that Obama will raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, appearing at 10 events outside Washington, one event each in Washington and joint fundraising events for candidates, is a sign the White House and Hill Democrats could be mending fences. …
Obama himself showed signs that he’s willing to improve his relationship with Hill Democrats. Speaking to lawmakers Thursday at a retreat in Leesburg, Va., he indirectly acknowledged the poor relationship. “I’m looking forward to spending time with all 49 of you,” Obama said to freshmen lawmakers, according to pool reports. He also said he’s looking forward to a second speakership for Nancy Pelosi.
It’s also worth pointing out that, according to The New York Times, the president is attending events for the committees, not specific candidates.
Of course, this is not out of the mere goodness of his magnanimous heart; if he wants to maintain a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any of his dream legacy-building legislation passed, he’ll need to lend his popularity to help keep the Senate squarely in Democratic hands and try to narrow the House Republicans’ margin, which — depending on which way the wind blows — could be something of a feat. Democrats will want to keep their war chests nice and cushy in the event they need to end up pulling out all of the stops to hold on to their balance of power. What’s more, these possibly upcoming votes on gun control, immigration, and even ‘revenue’ increases aren’t for peanuts; they could be politically costly for certain players, and he may need to preemptively generate some goodwill to keep the caucus united on his behalf.