I don’t begrudge the president a nice vacation. But having already spent time in Maine this summer, a second vacation to a place other than the hard-hit Gulf is an invitation for people to think what too many of them already think: The president just doesn’t get it.

He doesn’t understand what’s happening out there, out here. People still don’t have jobs, home values still haven’t recovered, and 401(k)s are still in a slump. The only signs of recovery are a lot of highway projects, which, as we are told every day when the traffic slows, are being paid for by us.

The danger for Democrats is that if people keep thinking the president doesn’t get it (and that’s what I am hearing, particularly when those golf course shots hit the front page), the easiest way for them to send him a message, since he’s not on the ticket, is to vote against the Democrat who is. November could be a disaster for Democrats if that mentality sets in. The president may not be in any position to rescue Democrats, but his absence from the campaign trail – particularly if he’s playing golf and hobnobbing with rich donors instead – will be viewed (and advertised by Republicans) as an invitation to send him a message he doesn’t want to hear.