Obama coattails turning into albatrosses?

posted at 12:45 pm on October 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats will have a very difficult time in 2012 hanging onto the US Senate.  They have to defend 23 seats, while Republicans only have to defend 10, thanks to the 2006 midterm victory Democrats celebrated in George W. Bush’s final midterm.  Normally the presence of an incumbent President would provide some coattails for struggling incumbents in down-ticket races, but an analysis of polling by Politico in these upcoming races shows that Barack Obama is providing more of a drag than a boost:

In 2008, President Barack Obama swept into the White House, and Senate Democrats eventually picked up nine seats, giving the new commander in chief the biggest Senate majority in decades.

But as Obama heads into his 2012 reelection campaign, keeping that Senate majority will be a major challenge — and Obama’s weakness at the top of the ticket may be partly to blame.

In every major race next year featuring a Senate Democratic incumbent, Obama is polling worse than the incumbent — in some cases, by a substantial margin — according to publicly released surveys.

For Democrats running for re-election — or as in Tim Kaine’s case, running for an empty seat currently held by a Democratic retiree — the strategy will be to put as much distance as possible from the party’s leader in the White House.  In other words, as one strategist puts it … “go native”:

“Everyone is going to have to ‘go native,’” one Senate Democratic strategist said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They have to focus on local issues, stay laser-focused on that and not worry about what Obama is doing or saying.” Senate Democrats point to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2010 reelection campaign, with which Reid was able to overcome horrific approval ratings and a GOP wave, as their template for victory in other tough races.

Reid lucked into having a weak opponent prone to gaffes, but that’s not going to happen often enough in 2012 to hold onto all but three seats, especially since the other Democrats don’t have Reid’s war chest.  In 2010, Obama wasn’t on the top of the ticket, and could avoid appearing in states with tough races.  In 2012, Democrats up and down the ticket will have to defend Obama, no matter how much they want to “stay local.”  For the most part, that strategy didn’t work in the 2010 midterms anyway, as the election turned into a massive referendum on Obama even without his name on the ticket.

I wrote about this earlier in a couple of speculative posts regarding either a primary challenge to Obama or a withdrawal in favor of Hillary Clinton.  After all, the DNC and other Democrats are looking at the same polling and discovering that Obama may well sink the party’s slim hopes of retaining a majority in one chamber of Congress.  Hillary won the voters in the 2008 primaries that have fled the Democrats over the last two years, and she could woo them back more effectively than Obama.

It’s far too late for her to launch a primary challenge, and Obama’s far too self-confident to consider a withdrawal a la LBJ, but there’s no doubt that Obama is going to sink a number of Senate Democrats in 2012.  The only question is just how many that might be.

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They have to focus on local issues, stay laser-focused on that and not worry about what Obama is doing or saying.

Trouble is that we have all that yootoob video and quotes from 2008 that show guys like this supporting Obama.

nice try Dems, enjoy your time at the bottom. Take debbie with ya.

ted c on October 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I just wish bho would go visit and give a shout out to ALL d’s up for reelection! Better yet send in dear joe, he has such a way with words!
L

letget on October 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

It’s not that they don’t want him there. It’s just that they don’t have enough cops on staff to insure that he won’t get raped.

RBMN on October 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Occupy Wall Street – When the 99% Become the 1%:

After a month in the trenches, these kids who started out as wide-eyed idealists down with “the cause” are starting to get gobsmacked with lessons that they would most likely never have learned in classrooms filled with theoretical situations and simple, elegant solutions.

In the classroom of “Real Life”, these kids are rapidly finding out that Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and/or Anarchy aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. We can only hope that they will take away some valuable lessons from this experience.

TeresainFortWorth on October 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Crush the Dems now… weed out the rinos later… Make them all irrelevant in the long term.
-
These guys should be putting “NO Bama” stickers on their cars soon… Enjoy.
-

RalphyBoy on October 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM

It’s far too late for her to launch a primary challenge, and Obama’s far too self-confident to consider a withdrawal a la LBJ, but there’s no doubt that Obama is going to sink a number of Senate Democrats in 2012. The only question is just how many that might be.

My guess is that it will be 8-10 of them.

Open seats – Virginia (Webb), Wisconsin (Kohl), North Dakota (Conrad)

Incumbent seats – Florida (Nelson), Michigan (Stabenow), Missouri (McCaskill), Montana (Tester), Nebraska (Nelson), Ohio (Brown), and possibly West Virginia (Manchin).

Most of those are states which are historically red or have made a major red turn in 2010.

This doesn’t even go into open seats in western states like Hawaii and New Mexico which could flip due to poor turnout if Obama gets wiped out early.

teke184 on October 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Well, I think that the GOP campaign ads are writing themselves, but even a trapped mouse can find the power.

bloggless on October 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Dem incumbents even have a worse problem than Obama. They have their own votes to defend on Obamacare, Porkulous, Financial “Reform”, etc.

TXUS on October 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM

It really depends on Cornyn not blowing it in selecting good candidates. Here in VA, Allen is looking scared by not even giving primary opponents a debate. I’m hearing more about Kaine in the news than Allen. Allen assumes he is ‘chosen one’ to carry the Pubbie banner against Kaine; but he’s not rousing enthusiastic support. This should be an easy pick-up for the Pubbies but Allen can still manage to bungle it.

Bob in VA on October 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM

“Everyone is going to have to ‘go native,’” one Senate Democratic strategist said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They have to focus on local issues, stay laser-focused on that and not worry about what Obama is doing or saying.”

That’s fine for Senators running in safe blue seate, and almost as true for Dem Senators running in uncontested red states.

But that becomes a real problem for Tim Kaine, running in a staet where he is certain to cross paths with the Obama camapign any number of times. What is he supposed to do… not show up at Democratic rallies?

JohnGalt23 on October 21, 2011 at 1:01 PM

“Everyone is going to have to ‘go native,’” Which means saying one thing to get elected, and once in Washington, D. C., voting like Harry Reid tells them.

RADIOONE on October 21, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Welcome to Obamaville. Please keep your wits about you as you venture through and enjoy Murderpalooza and Rape’fest 2012 which will take place following Defecating Man 2011.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM

” — the strategy will be to put as much distance as possible from the party’s leader in the White House.”

But… but… but he killed Gaddafi Gadafi Ghadafi Gheddafi Kadaffi Kad’afi Khadafy Gadhafi Kaddafi

… Oh,screw it.

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 21, 2011 at 1:05 PM

…..and hear the lamentations of their women.

a capella on October 21, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Senate supermajority or bust!

Rebar on October 21, 2011 at 1:07 PM

When you’re not winning “the negative war”, might as well go native. Every man/woman for themselves: Please move in an orderly fashion towards the gang plank, and pay no attention to the sharks in the water……..

Rovin on October 21, 2011 at 1:09 PM

This doesn’t even go into open seats in western states like Hawaii and New Mexico which could flip due to poor turnout if Obama gets wiped out early.

teke184 on October 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Don’t count on Hawai’i flipping-their Senior Senator has been there since I lived there as a kid 40+ years ago. Akaka is retiring, but the Democrat Pool to fill his seat is very deep, as opposed to a single GOP candidate, former Governor Linda Lingle.

On the Dem side, the frontrunner is Mazie Hirono-she’s currently a State Congress Critter. Also running on the D side: Ed Case, who ran against Akaka in ’06. Former Governor Waihee and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann are also in the mix.

Del Dolemonte on October 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Obama’s in trouble in Illinois.

JammieWearingFool on October 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM

My guess is that it will be 8-10 of them.

Open seats – Virginia (Webb), Wisconsin (Kohl), North Dakota (Conrad)

Incumbent seats – Florida (Nelson), Michigan (Stabenow), Missouri (McCaskill), Montana (Tester), Nebraska (Nelson), Ohio (Brown), and possibly West Virginia (Manchin).

Most of those are states which are historically red or have made a major red turn in 2010.

This doesn’t even go into open seats in western states like Hawaii and New Mexico which could flip due to poor turnout if when Obama gets wiped out early.

teke184 on October 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Well done teke, (with one small edit) :)

Rovin on October 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM

El Rushbo is beating up on Obie’s “green Jobs” program..:)

Dire Straits on October 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM

“Go native” sounds racist to me.

greggriffith on October 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM

The only question is just how many that might be.

Disgruntle Democrats will probably split their vote; either vote against Obama and for the Congressional seat or the other way around…or not go vote at all.

albill on October 21, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Don’t count on Hawai’i flipping-their Senior Senator has been there since I lived there as a kid 40+ years ago. Akaka is retiring, but the Democrat Pool to fill his seat is very deep, as opposed to a single GOP candidate, former Governor Linda Lingle.

On the Dem side, the frontrunner is Mazie Hirono-she’s currently a State Congress Critter. Also running on the D side: Ed Case, who ran against Akaka in ’06. Former Governor Waihee and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann are also in the mix.

Del Dolemonte on October 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Hawaii only happens in a full-blown “Carter ’80″ scenario, IMHO, where Obama gets completely wiped out early in the night while polls are still open on the West Coast and out in the Pacific.

That being said, the chances of weirdness happening is high because of the open seat, even with the deep Dem bench there. Look at what happened in Massachusetts with Scott Brown winning after the Dems dropped the ball.

teke184 on October 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

…..and hear the lamentations of their women.

a capella on October 21, 2011 at 1:06 PM

well played….

ted c on October 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Welcome to Obamaville. Please keep your wits about you as you venture through and enjoy Murderpalooza and Rape’fest 2012 which will take place following Defecating Man 2011.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM

lolz!

ted c on October 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Probably at least 10 seats. If the election were held today, Dems would lose around 6 seats just like 2010. What accelerates the losses is the downward slide of the Obama Administration. We’ve not squeezed all the bad news out of this administration, foreign or domestic. By Nov 2012, the economy or world affairs will have conspired to knock off another 5 to 10 points off his approval ratings in Gallup.

richardb on October 21, 2011 at 1:26 PM

President Ego is going to sink the entire Democratic Party.

GarandFan on October 21, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Yes, the Democrats will be dragged down by Obama in the Senate and elsewhere, but even without Obama they would be in trouble. An affirmative vote on Obamacare by itself will be enough to sink most of them including but not limited to McCaskill, Ben Nelson and Tester.

stefano1 on October 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM

TeresainFortWorth on October 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Teresa,

What a very nice (and interesting) blog! Glad to have run across it here and will visit often. Thanks.

The War Planner on October 21, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Welcome to Obamaville. Please keep your wits about you as you venture through and enjoy Murderpalooza and Rape’fest 2012 which will take place following Defecating Man 2011.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Well, it was Burning Man until Cheech & Chong brought the brownies.

MNHawk on October 21, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Albatross! Albatross!
What flavour is it?

Chickyraptor on October 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM

“Obama coattails turning into albatrosses?”

The voted in lockstep with Obama for three years on almost every piece of legislation their Congressional leaders conspired with Obama to foist on the American people. They can’t run from that.

Dem senators have gone, what, three years, without preparing a fiscal budget. That has nothing to do with Obama and they can’t run from that, either.

The Dems have met the enemy to their re-election chances and it is themselves. Make them own it.

Dusty on October 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM

My guess is that it will be 8-10 of them.

Numbers are racist.

crushliberalism on October 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Open seats – Virginia (Webb), Wisconsin (Kohl), North Dakota (Conrad)

Incumbent seats – Florida (Nelson), Michigan (Stabenow), Missouri (McCaskill), Montana (Tester), Nebraska (Nelson), Ohio (Brown), and possibly West Virginia (Manchin).

North Dakota (Conrad), Montana(Tester) and Nebraska (Ben Nelson) look like surefire pickups, but some of the others depend on who runs on the GOP side. Missouri is a great opportunity, but is there anyone with statewide support on our side? Allen and Kaine are running very close in VA. Sherrod Brown is much too liberal for Ohio, but who should run against him? One of the current Reps? Florida will be tough (since Crist won’t split the lefty vote this time), unless Republicans go with Jeb Bush, who is still popular there.

MO, VA, OH, and FL are all “swing states” in the Presidential election–if there is a strong anti-Obama wave, it could sweep out the Democrat Senators there…if we find the right candidates.

Steve Z on October 21, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I cannot wait to vote against Kaine. The rest goes without saying.

perries on October 21, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Steve Z, Sen. DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund PAC is supporting Josh Mandel against Sherrod Brown.

perries on October 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Too bad so many democRATS are such jackwagons they would have never been elected w/o Barry the Keynesian in the first place.

borntoraisehogs on October 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Albatrosses, eh? Can anvils be far behind?

Lily on October 21, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Michigan has some decent possibilities against Stabenow. Its legislature and governor went “red” in 2010 and have made drastic steps in favor of the taxpayers. The public unions are pissed off, so the changes must be in the right direction.

karenhasfreedom on October 21, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Call me Eeyore, but I have a nagging feeling we’ll snatch defeat from the jaws of victory before it’s over.

BacaDog on October 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Dems have a rare medical condition — their BO smells worse than a week old carcass.

JPlunket on October 21, 2011 at 4:38 PM

” — the strategy will be to put as much distance as possible from the party’s leader in the White House.”

…and OUR strategy will be to put as much distance as possible between Obama and his Demo and RINO sycophants and Washington DC!!

landlines on October 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Albatross! Albatross!
What flavour is it?

Chickyraptor on October 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Since no one else did it. Here it is.

cobrakai99 on October 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Obama’s coattails could be albatrosses, but they are more like blankets. Wet blankets soaked by the tears of left wingers, who are like crocodiles eating up all the wildebeests of the economy. You know what I mean.

Tyrone Slothrop on October 22, 2011 at 9:05 AM