Distressed Democrats desperate for some – any – action from Obama
Ahead of the midterms, a sense of malaise is building around Obama and the Democrats
US President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Scott Brown, the Republican who admitted he wore pink leather shorts on his first date with his wife-to-be, is back – and Democrats are scared to death.
It’s not that Democrats are particularly scared that the former Massachusetts senator is going to get elected as a New Hampshire senator – although it is conceivable that a charming, carpetbagging, middling politician could jump across the border and unseat Jeanne Shaheen.
But Shaheen is popular, and strategists don’t think that flinty “Live Free or Die” voters will welcome the Boston transplant with open arms.
This is what’s really freaking out Democrats: they know that Brown (54), after making some real money working for Fox News since his loss to Elizabeth Warren two years ago, wouldn’t even be getting into the race if the political environment weren’t so toxic for Democrats.
Republicans have been white-hot for Brown to get in, and he finally pulled the trigger on Friday, establishing an exploratory committee and asserting that “the Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side” of a big political wave.
GOP leaders think that even if Brown can’t win, he will force Democrats to spend a bunch of money in New Hampshire and curtail what they can spend in other more crucial races like Colorado, Alaska, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Michigan.
Brown jumping in was just one blast of bad news for Democrats. They also lost a special election last Tuesday in Florida by a hair, a defeat David Plouffe called “a screaming siren”.
Alex Sink, a promising candidate, sank after she could not overcome the blast of ads linking her to President Barack Obama and his healthcare law.
Republicans had been so worried about losing the Florida election that they prematurely trashed their own candidate, a former lobbyist named David Jolly, telling Politico that his campaign was a Keystone Kops operation. Then they ended up swearing him in Thursday, murmuring “bygones”.
So now Democratic panic has set in.
With the healthcare sign-up period coming to an end this month, Democrats in Congress are looking over at the White House and realising that the president is not only incapable of saving them, but he looks like a big anchor tied around their necks.
The president is still a good fundraiser for Democrats, but while the Koch brothers are pounding the party’s Senate candidates and a few House candidates around the country, congressional Democrats are wondering when Obama’s vaunted powerhouse national advocacy network, Organising for Action, will finally step in with some money to offset the wave of outside spending by the Republicans.