Via Dave in Texas, I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve suddenly entered pre-mortem season for the midterm wipeout that’s ahead. I didn’t think we’d get there for another month at least, but between the gruesome generic ballot polling and The One’s horrible misplay of the Ground Zero mosque, my sense is that something’s changed and the game has now switched from mitigating losses in November to finding ulterior explanations for the inevitable losses to come. The more creative those explanations, the better; the only rule if you’re a lefty is that you can’t claim that voters are responding rationally to the Democrats’ horrible policies. Any other excuse — preferably having to do with “messaging” or “optics” — is A-OK. Take it away, Barney:

Forget that whole conciliatory, post-partisan message thing. President Obama’s problem is that he’s not partisan enough…

Frank said Obama made a critical mistake when he took office in January 2009 by being too nice to Republicans and failing to tell the public just how bad things were following the presidency of George W. Bush. That has left Frank and other Democrats vulnerable to Republican attacks that they are to blame for problems facing the nation — from the intractable war in Afghanistan to the economic collapse at home — when the roots of those crises were planted during the Bush administration, Frank said.

“The president was not partisan enough; he did not put the blame where it lay, and so we’re in a tough fight now,’’ he told roughly 70 attendees at a fund-raiser.

Actually, not until the past two weeks or so — 18 months after the stimulus passed — have voters started to blame Obama for the state of the economy more than Bush. As of one month ago, more voters blamed Bush than Obama for unemployment, the deficit, and even conditions in Afghanistan. It’s not that voters think The One is responsible for the country’s problems, in other words; it’s that they think he’s been simply miserable at trying to solve the ones he inherited, to the point where even the much-loathed GOP is set to get another bite of the apple. Which, of course, is why it’s so absurd for Obama to be touring the country right now telling people that a vote against Democrats is a vote for fear. They’re already so terrified at what Democrats are doing that they’re willing to return a party that they have little confidence in to power simply as a check on the left. I asked this in the generic ballot thread but it bears repeating: How do you screw up so titanically that even an opposition held in disgrace as recently as two years ago starts to look good by comparison?

Oh, the latest poll numbers, by the way: Democratic support is now fading in the swing state of Pennsylvania as well as the Obama stronghold of Illinois. It’s “fear,” you see.