Barack Obama hasn’t won many friends on Capitol Hill since apparently clinching the nomination, Politico reports. Democratic staffers complain of arrogance and inattention to the needs of Congressional Democrats, as well as poor coordination on appearances. Obama’s campaign has a sense of entitlement that may wind up being premature:
After a brief bout of Obamamania, some Capitol Hill Democrats have begun to complain privately that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is insular, uncooperative and inattentive to their hopes for a broad Democratic victory in November.
“They think they know what’s right and everyone else is wrong on everything,” groused one senior Senate Democratic aide. “They are kind of insufferable at this point.” …
Privately, however, there is a different message coming from some Democratic quarters on the Hill and on K Street. Some Democratic leadership staffers complain that, having defeated the vaunted Clinton political machine in the primaries, the Obama campaign now feels a “sense of entitlement” that leads to “arrogance.”
Yesterday I wrote that an effort to get Hillary Clinton a floor vote at the convention had a small chance of posing a risk to Obama’s nomination. With Obama’s FISA flip-flop, the netroots have become disillusioned with hope and change, and any shift Obama makes on Iraq will only exacerbate it. He doesn’t have enough pledged delegates to cement his nomination, and superdelegates can change their minds at any time.
And who are those superdelegates? In large part, the consist of the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate. They jumped on the Obama bandwagon mostly after the primaries ended, but they could just as easily jump back off again if they believe Obama to be a losing cause.
Team Obama’s arrogant attitude has manifested itself mainly in relations with key Democrats on Capitol Hill; for instance, Obama never notified Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi of his plans to change venues at the convention until their staffers heard it on a press conference call. Obama appears in Congressional districts without notifying the candidates, losing them opportunities to appear with the presumptive nominee. John Bresnahan has more examples in his article as well.
Hillary Clinton has shrewdly positioned herself with the Left on the FISA bill in anticipation of an Obama meltdown. Obama seems to have forgotten his tenuous position at the convention and the need for strong support from Capitol Hill in order to secure his nomination. If he continues to stumble publicly and snub party leaders privately, Obama may be in for a very rude shock if Hillary gets her floor vote in Denver.