Avoiding the Obama virus
Democrats fear a hand from their toxic president could be politically fatal in November
The Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky refuses to even say she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Democratic senators running for re-election in New Hampshire and North Carolina tell reporters they don’t want their party’s president to campaign for them. Meanwhile, the most recent Gallup poll reports President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 39 percent, a Nixon-like number and comes on the heels of former top advisers writing books and giving interviews suggesting that their former boss isn’t much of an executive.
As this is happening, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman declares Mr. Obama the third-greatest president in history, ranking him just behind not George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, raising the question: If Mr. Obama has done such a great job, why don’t candidates of his party want him campaigning for them?
The president’s disapproval numbers are not driven by any dislike of him personally — or by race, as he and some of his advisers suggest — but by the utter failure of his domestic and foreign policies. In a bizarre misstep proving his inability to see beyond his own ego, he reminds us these are the very policies on the ballot on Nov. 4.
That the public still hasn’t warmed up to Obamacare and doubts his assertions that the economy is improving underscore his elitist isolation as Americans continue to suffer. His “reset” with Russia has been met with annexation of Crimea by Mr. Putin, who thumbs his nose at Mr. Obama as he contemplates the reconstitution of the Russian empire.
In an adamant refusal to take responsibility for any bad news, leading from behind has resulted in chaos and bloodshed in the Middle East, which Mr. Obama blames on the inadequacy of our intelligence services rather than his refusal to believe what they kept telling him. His continual refusal to deal with the world that exists rather than the one he wishes we lived in has been painfully evident.
As militant jihadists appear on the verge of capturing a city the president’s coalition had earlier pledged to defend, we are told losing it won’t matter much because it isn’t all that strategic anyway and besides, the Turks should save it.
The administration’s reaction to all this has been to reassure the public that things aren’t as bad as they seem, that it isn’t their fault and that there is no need to panic because the president and his team have everything under control.
Now, as the election approaches, Americans already nervously concerned about the uncertain economy and subjected to daily reports of mindless bloodshed, beheadings and threats from terrorists promising that we’re next are being thrown even further off-balance by the prospect of a pandemic they fear may already have reached our shores.
When the first American to contract Ebola within the United State comes down sick, officials at the Centers for Disease Control claim the nurse must have “broken protocols” because, as they’ve been assuring us for weeks, Ebola is difficult to catch and easily contained. When evidence shows otherwise, that the Texas nurse did everything she should have to protect herself while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, health officials continue to insist it was her fault because, of course, they shouldn’t be blamed.
Washington Democrats know how to solve this problem. They’ve blamed everything that has gone wrong since Mr. Obama was sworn in back in 2009 on George W. Bush and the Republicans, and they can’t see any reason to stop now. They are doing exactly that in television ads running in targeted states blaming Republican parsimony and budget cuts for the Ebola crisis. The ads ignore the increased funding that doubled the money available to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control during the Bush years and the admission by CDC officials just last week that Congress has given the agency every penny it has requested.
The problem the Democrats face is that the public is tired of the adolescent finger-pointing and don’t accept the argument that the president and his party bear absolutely no responsibility for anything that has gone awry on Mr. Obama’s watch.
The reason his party’s candidates don’t want Mr. Obama on the road campaigning for them is that they are afraid that when he said that his policies are on the ballot this fall, the voters will agree and take out their reaction to the failure of those policies on them. David A. Keene is opinion editor of The Washington Times.