It wasn’t supposed to work this way. The Democrats looked long and hard for viable challengers to Senate Republicans, and hoped to turn at least one major Republican challenger into the Todd Akin of 2014 as a means to paint the entire party as crazy, radical, incompetent, or all three. Instead, their own handpicked candidates have made one error after another, boosting Republican chances of taking control of the Senate and turning 2014’s midterms into a wave. Jill Lawrence surveys the landscape, and asks which Democrat will win the “Akin Award”:

But Democrats are proving able competitors when it comes to self-inflicted damage. They’re handing Republicans gift after gift, along with good reasons for GOP optimism about winning the six seats needed for a Senate majority.

The latest stunner is the leak of a baldly political campaign blueprint for Michelle Nunn, a real contender to pick up a Senate seat for Democrats in Georgia — at least until now. The memos, obtained by National Review, are raw and blunt, and pretty much realpolitik as usual. Yet they are also embarrassing and potentially devastating.

That starts with the fact that they were reportedly posted online for a brief time. How could that possibly have happened? It sounds like a bad Cameron Diaz movie about a sex tape mistakenly sent to the cloud and a bunch of people’s iPads. Yes, that movie. It’s called “Sex Tape.”

Such an astonishing lapse says nothing good about the Nunn operation. And the saga only gets worse, with explicit memos on how the campaign would try to coopt the press; how much money Nunn would try to extract from Jews, Asians and gays; how she should position herself on Israel to maximize her take from Jews; and how her opponent would go after her.

Lawrence also mentions John Walsh in Montana and Bruce Braley in Iowa. Walsh’s case is less of gaffes and more related to integrity on an issue that preceded his candidacy, but Braley is a real favorite for Lawrence’s “Akin Award.” Braley, who has a seat in the House, argued in a private fundraiser that he needed to win the Senate seat vacated by Tom Harkin to prevent a farmer from running the Senate Judiciary Committee. Needless to say, when the video of those remarks hit the Internet, the farmers in Iowa were less than pleased with the notion that they lacked the sophistication for self-governance. Braley’s tried to turn himself into a farmer ever since, but without much success, although the spread of fertilizer has been impressive.

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ gaffe on Iron Dome might have qualified for an honorable mention in Lawrence’s column, but it happened too late for inclusion there. Her dodges on coal regulation and ObamaCare qualify her as a “Democratic phony” nonetheless, Ed Rogers writes in the Washington Post, along with Braley, Nunn, and others:

What’s with all the Democratic Senate candidates being caught displaying a condescending, insulting contempt for voters? The latest embarrassing incident involves Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, who suffered the indignity of having her 144-page campaign plan leaked. By the way, whatever happened to political professionals applying the “Washington Post rule”?  That rule is simple: If it wouldn’t be flattering if it was published in The Post, don’t put it in writing. Anyway, her entire blueprint for faux authenticity has been published, and it contains all of the usual and contrived political maneuvering that voters find so disgusting. The plan involves trying to create a fake, gun-toting, rural-friendly image for the wannabe Georgian senator supplied by a Democratic PR firm based in San Francisco, and exposes her positions on issues as basic as her commitment to Israel as contrived to drive her fundraising efforts. …

Then West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is running against Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the West Virginia Senate seat, released a comical ad suggesting she is so bold, she will turn off the lights at the White House and fight her own party to save coal jobs in West Virginia. It’s embarrassing to watch. The very notion that once in Washington she would even try to be an authentic advocate for coal is absurd and everyone knows it. Tennant might know Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) (the only legitimate Democratic friend of coal in Washington) and Joe Manchin may be a friend, but she’s no Joe Manchin.

Any one of these revelations would be uncomfortable for the Democrats. But the steady stream of these incidents is proof that Democratic candidates on the ballot in 2014 are trying to hide their positions from the voters. Think about it. Democrats have resorted to concocted images and positions, because if they told the truth about what they thought, they would lose the support of many of the middle-of-the-road voters who tend to turn out in midterm elections. It is naïve to think otherwise. Democratic candidates can’t reveal themselves as the liberals they are, and they can’t admit they will conform to the dogmatic liberal establishment’s policies as soon as they arrive in Washington.

Rogers and Lawrence see a pattern here, which Rogers says the national media are ignoring, and wouldn’t if the shoe was on the other partisan foot — like with Todd Akin, as one good example. The media made Akin the emblematic Republican, but aren’t connecting dots when it comes to Democrats, aside from Lawrence. However, Democrats themselves are connecting the dots and are looking at the wrong end of a turnout debacle. The impeachment talk is a measure of that desperation:

Record-low primary election turnout is threatening to magnify Democratic midterm worries.

Both parties have made their “get out the vote” programs a top priority for November, investing millions in building bigger ground operations earlier than ever before.

The challenge is most dire for Democrats, who are defending a fragile six-seat Senate majority that relies on a handful of races in hostile, GOP-leaning territory — and trying to pick up House seats in a difficult year, politically.

Their push this week to raise the alarm —  and campaign cash — over the GOP lawsuit against President Obama and to stoke fears of impeachment shows just how worried Democrats are.

As I’ve often written before, desperation is not an aphrodisiac in either dating or politics. Of all the phony issues that Democratic “phonies” are flogging, the supposed impeachment motive is the phoniest — and everyone knows it.