By the numbers: Vulnerable Senate Democrats “have Obama’s back”
posted at 4:01 pm on March 18, 2014 by Guy Benson
In a recent DNC fundraising letter, President Obama asks a rhetorical question of hardcore Democratic partisans: “Do you still have my back?” As I argued on Fox News, of course they do. They always will — forever and ever, amen. The president and his party are in trouble due to the mass abandonment of independent voters, not because Obama sycophants are jumping ship. More politically relevant than the passions of rank-and-file Democratic donors is the degree to which vulnerable 2014 Democrats “have Obama’s back” when the chips are down. According to Congressional Quarterly’s comprehensive 2013 analysis, every single embattled Senate Democrat has voted the Obama line at least 90 percent of the time. The numbers range from Sen. Mark “Obamacare’s an amazing success story” Pryor at 90 percent (his Senate colleague from Arkansas voted with Obama less than 40 percent of the time) to Colorado’s Mark Udall and New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, who backed the president’s position in 99 percent of votes. In honor of Senate Democrats’ unwavering fealty to the Obama agenda, we put together this brief video highlighting their lofty loyalty scores. The yeas and nays featured in this clip are from the dramatic Christmas Eve roll call on Obamacare, in which every single Democrat in the chamber cast the deciding vote:
As Ed and I each discussed yesterday, President Obama and his signature legislative accomplishment are millstones hanging around many Democrats’ necks. It’s early yet — and Lord knows Republicans have a knack for blowing it — but the 2014 Senate landscape looks promising. WaPo’s Chris Cillizza explains:
The Senate playing field has shifted in Republicans’ favor over the last several weeks thanks to recruiting successes in Colorado and New Hampshire, as well as a national political environment that looks increasingly treacherous for Democrats. That shifting has led to rising confidence among Republican strategists about the party’s chances of retaking the six seats the party needs to regain the Senate majority in 2014. “After the last two Senate elections, this will be the year Charlie Brown finally gets to kick the football,” predicted prominent Republican pollster Glen Bolger…. “And yes, in this analogy, Harry Reid is Lucy, crabby as ever.” Even Democrats have begun to acknowledge the problems in the fight for the Senate — albeit privately. “There is no doubt that the Senate outlook has deteriorated significantly in the past six weeks,” admitted a prominent Democratic strategist. “Between the map and the [Affordable Care Act’s] unpopularity in the states on the map, it has gone from being a jump ball to advantage Republicans.”
Another sign that Democrats are losing faith is a post on Greg Sargent’s ‘Plum Line’ blog, a perennial clearing house for official party talking points. Writer Paul Waldman cooks up a “we don’t even want the Senate anyway!” analysis, arguing that the White House might benefit from losing control of the upper chamber, or something:
The House, still dominated by extremely conservative Republicans for whom any hint of compromise is considered the highest treason, could continue to pass one doomed bill after another, while the Senate tries to write bills that have at least some chance of ever becoming law. And that would be just fine with Barack Obama. If he’s faced with both houses controlled by the opposition, there’s nothing he’d rather see than them fighting with each other and passing only unrealistic bills that he can veto without worrying about any backlash from the public.
Yes, because a Republican Congress would be incapable of passing wildly popular bills and forcing Obama to anger the public with a parade of ideological vetoes. I’ll leave you with this delightful MSNBC chyron:
— Sarah Isgur Flores (@whignewtons) March 18, 2014
Author’s note: Major props to my colleagues Sarah Jean Seman (Townhall) and Ben Howe (RedState) for their invaluable help in producing our original video.