'Disconnected' Obama dragging Dems to defeat
The real world consequences of having a president who is disconnected from events and his office are falling heavily on Democratic candidates for office in 2014.
The narrative - helped by a president who doesn't care what people think about his golfing and vacationing - is dragging several candidates to a likely defeat as the public refuses to give the president any credit for a glacially improving economy. That, and the puiblic giving the president low marks for easing racial tensions, foreign policy, and Obamacare, combine to make it difficult for Democrats to overcome.
The question for Obama and the Democratic candidates and consultants whose fate at the ballot box in November is inextricably linked to his is what, if anything, can be done to turn around this story line of a president increasingly unable — or unwilling — to steer the country (and the world) in the direction he wants it to go.
J.B. Poersch, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who is now a political consultant, insists that the path back for Obama is the same as it has always been — talking about the economy in real-world terms.
“The president helps best when he’s taking up the argument for working people and whacking away at economic issues that matter — pay equity, minimum wage, affordable college loans and more,” Poersch said. “This was true in 2012, and it’s still true.”
And, in theory, the economy provides a positive story for Obama — and other Democrats — to tell. An average of 230,000 jobs have been added in each of the first seven months of the year, and the unemployment rate sits at 6.2 percent — the lowest it has been since September 2008.
Yet, despite the improved numbers, Obama — and his party — don’t seem to be getting much of the credit. Just over four in 10 voters (42 percent) approved of how he is handling the economy in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll conducted this month; the survey also showed Obama’s overall approval rating at 40 percent, the lowest measured by NBC-WSJ.
The reasons that Obama gets little credit for the economic improvements are many, including that many people don’t feel as though things are getting better in their lives (two-thirds of those surveyed in the NBC-WSJ poll were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with the state of the economy) and that the news of late has been dominated by chaos not just around the world but also within our borders.
Cillizza wonders if Obama can make a strong, sustained case for his agenda before the mid-terms. So far, he has shown little desire to do so. He has left the playing field wide open to Republicans who have found fertile ground in criticizing the president and tying Democratic candidates to his incompetence and apparent boredom.
This is a recipe for disaster and the Democrats know it. That's why there may be some kind of "intervention" by senior Democrats on the Hill trying to shake the president out of his ennui. There have already been a couple of meetings between the president and party leaders - low key affairs to talk strategy for November.
But the politicians who see their numbers sinking and are fighting for their office may feel they have no choice but increase the pressure on the president to become more forceful in his defense. Time is running out and Democrats are almost out of options.