Democrats have nowhere to hide

Not surprised that they didn't make a big production out of releasing the revised numbers for the economy over the short term. In fact, they probably wanted to wait until after midnight when everyone had gone home and few would have noticed.

Yes, it's that bad:

The Obama administration downgraded its forecast for economic growth Thursday, predicting turmoil in the economy will likely keep unemployment above 9 percent through next year's election.

The unemployment rate is considered to be one of the most important factors in presidential elections, so if the White House's assessment holds, President Obama is in for one of the toughest reelection fights in memory.

When the "substantial" economic "turbulence" of the last two months are considered, the administration expects the economy to grow as little as 1.7 percent in 2011 compared to last year. That is down from a rosier projection of 2.7 percent growth, made in February.

"The economic projections made clear that in the short-term, in particular, there is a real need to kick-start economic growth," White House Budget Director Jack Lew said.

The assessments on unemployment are contained in the administration's midsession budget review, which is an update on the president's February budget request.

I am not a soothsayer, but I've been around politicians a lot over the last 35 years and I can tell you flatly that it's panic time for elected Democrats - from senators, to congressmen, to state reps, to dog catcher. The question on all of their minds is how to disengage from a failed president without angering his still large base of support, but showing independence in order to appeal to enough voters to save their jobs.

This doesn't always work as National Journal points out:

But Obama's iffy prospects shouldn't send Altmire and other vulnerable Democrats fleeing from the president, veteran strategists say. The calculus is a complicated one that should take into account that Obama remains more popular than Republicans in Congress.

Running away from the president could discourage loyal Democrats who still have faith in Obama from turning out at the polls in 2012. What's more, if the Republican nominee turns out to be a tea-party branded conservative like Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, Obama could plausibly pitch himself as the more reasonable, less ideological candidate to independent voters.

Democratic strategists suggest that downballot Democrats should focus on the president's agenda, which includes a balanced approach to deficit reduction with both tax increases and spending cuts, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy.

"Anyone who says Obama is going to be a drag on the ticket should look [at] the polling numbers for congressional Republicans," said Mary Anne Marsh, a Massachusetts-based Democratic consultant. "Democrats running in 2012 should realize that the better he does, the better they will do.''

In 2010, a number of Democrats sought to steer clear of the president to no avail. The Democratic nominee for governor in Florida, Alex Sink, ducked Obama during fundraising visits and ended up narrowly losing to Republican Rick Scott amid disappointing Democratic turnout. Former Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., went so far as to announce during his reelection campaign that he voted for John McCain in 2008. The 21-year incumbent fell to a first-term state representative.

"There are a number of people -- who are now former members of Congress -- who tried to distance themselves from the president. It didn't work," said Philadelphia-based Democratic consultant J.J. Balaban.

With 8 in 10 Americans believing we're already back in a recession, there doesn't seem to be much hope for down ticket Democrats no matter how the presidential race plays out. Somebody is going to get blamed for this mess and Obama and the Democrats will probably be likely targets of angry voters in 2012.