Barack Obama: Not Helping Democrats

There will be much debate in the morning about whether or not the bad results for Democrats in the Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey – both states where Barack Obama campaigned for the Democrat and the Democrat sought to join himself at the hip with Obama – reflect public anger at Obama and his Administration. This is an interesting debate, but let us not miss a critical point:
Obama tried to help Deeds and Corzine, and was unable to do so. He can help nobody but himself. And that fact alone is hugely significant.
Democrats will point to exit polls showing that Obama retains a healthy approval rating among those who went to the polls in today’s two battleground states. But one of the signal exit poll items was pointed out by Jake Tapper: in NJ, which Obama carried by 15 points a year ago, 19% of the voters told exit pollsters they were casting ballots in support of Obama, and 20% against. In other words, even in a very pro-Obama electorate, he was a small net drag on the Democratic candidate, and certainly no help despite campaigning ardently for Jon Corzine.
This is consistent with what we’ve seen nationally: Obama remains personally popular (if far less so than on his Inauguration Day, which remains the high point of his presidency), but his popularity doesn’t rub off on his policies, much less on other Democrats, especially white male Democrats like Deeds and Corzine who have no claim to being historic symbols of national progress. The record turnout among racial-minority and youth voters generated by the 2008 Obama campaign was not replicable in 2009 without his personal presence on the ballot. And of course, the same will be true in 2010, when Obama himself is not personally on the ballot and will again make every effort to explain helpfully to other Democrats that they lost their jobs for reasons unrelated to his precious historic personal popularity.
The revelation that Obama cannot help other Democrats get elected is, of course, bound to affect his ability to govern; he can’t convince wavering “Blue Dog” Democrats that supporting him in return for his campaign appearances in their districts will do any more for them than it did for Jon Corzine or Creigh Deeds. But then, so long as people like Barack Obama, maybe it doesn’t matter so much to him if he actually accomplishes anything. After all, he is “change.” Just don’t expect a lot of Democratic incumbents to consider that a bankable asset in the future.

10 thoughts on “Barack Obama: Not Helping Democrats”

  1. Obama helping Democrats?
    He can’t get in to help, what with the Republicans (Gingerich, Steele, et alia) putting up people like Scuzzy and then pouring in the money to have here endorse the Democrats.
    With enemies like that, he doesn’t need any friends.

  2. Here in NV, the only thing that will save Sen. Reid is an economic miracle that isn’t going to be there, and Pelosi is counting a staunchly anti-public option Dem in NY-23 as a victory.
    I can’t see the public option slipping through. God bless the Jerseyiacs!
    And the Yankees must be destroyed.

  3. That’s what Obama gets for governing from the right.
    Also, so much for the power of the 9/12 Group and other tea-baggers in their support for freedom from government.
    Their hand-picked candidate lost to a Democrat in NY-23, and they were unable to curb the government takeover of marriage in Maine. (If we allow the government to tell us which sex we can marry can state-arranged marriages be far off?) Talk about your slippery constitutional slope.
    Can’t wait to see Glenn Beck’s tears tonight as he expounds about the expansion of government and the failure of the people to take back America from government bureaucrats.

  4. Sponge, I think you just insulted gibberish. If this Berto person had an iota of sense, s/he would just acknowledge that the GOP won big last night, tempered somewhat by the Dem win in a very odd election in NY (Dem barely defeating a 3rd party candidate in a race without a GOP candidate).
    Here’s an example: Obama won big in ’08, tempered somewhat by circumstances (bad opponent, unpopular incumbent, financial crisis just as the bad opponent had inched to an insignificant lead in the polls).
    Given that marriage is by definition (for thousands of years) between a man and woman, Berto’s idiocy requires an arbitrary redefinition of the word–but that aside, I don’t care about the issue except to say that I’d be more sympathetic were they to call it what it is, i.e. something other than marriage, and receive full rights.

  5. My belated Congratulations to the GOP. Democrats gained a seat in Congress (super-Congratulations again, GOP) in a seat which hasn’t been Dem since the Reconstruction Era.
    BTW, my kudos is not just for yesterday. I was remiss in not offering my deep-felt Congratulations for the 2006 midterms and 2008 Presidential/ Congressional Elections as well.
    Keep up the good work. Your continued success is great news to the citizens of the nation.

  6. You guys all get your talking points at the same place, don’t you?
    Democrats gained a seat in Congress (super-Congratulations again, GOP) in a seat which hasn’t been Dem since the Reconstruction Era.

    This is false but held as fact by lefties because some dope somewhere was crowing it and they all repeated it because it made them feel better. It’s no wonder nobody believes lefties.

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