White House to red-state Democrats: Don't blame Precious if you lose

I had a nice laugh imagining the reaction among Landrieu, Pryor, and Hagan staffers watching Josh Earnest deliver these remarks today after last night’s rhetorical groin-punch. The GOP’s spent six months warning red-staters that a vote for Democrat X is a vote for Obama. That’s basically true, The One helpfully conceded yesterday.

Now here’s Earnest telling Democrat X that if that albatross around his or her neck feels heavy, hey — maybe they should have run a better campaign, bro.

“The success of many of these Democratic candidates will depend on their own success in motivating voters that strongly supported the president in 2012,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday. 

“Ultimately, those Democratic candidates will have to develop their own strategies in their states for figuring out how exactly to do that,” he continued. “And there are people running in red states that have a strong track record. … So it should be their decision. It’s ultimately their campaign; it’s their name that’s on the ballot.”…

Earnest also said there was a “variety of ways” Obama could be beneficial to those candidates, outside of appearing alongside them at rallies.

He did concede that O will get “at least his fair share of the blame” if Democrats lose the Senate, although that’s more a bow to political reality than a concession of how large Obama’s unpopularity looms in these races. Is it true, by the way, that red-state Dems vote with O reliably and have been strong supporters of his agenda, as he said on Al Sharpton’s show last night? Christopher Ingraham of WaPo ran the numbers and … yeah, you betcha it’s true:


You don’t need more than the final roll call on ObamaCare to know which group, the Democratic Party or their own constituents, takes precedence for Democrats from conservative states, but in case you had any doubts, let that chart ease them. Anyway: What’s up with O running around lately telling everyone that people like Mark Pryor are his loyal soldiers in the Senate when Republicans are running around telling everyone that, er, people like Mark Pryor are his loyal soldiers in the Senate? Last night wasn’t the first time Obama made that point this month. At the beginning of October, he told a crowd that his policies are on the ballot this November, which felt like the kiss of death to centrist Dems who’ve been arguing precisely the opposite. What gives? Doesn’t he know his job approval is south of 42 percent?

What’s motivating him is the same thing that’s motivating the Democrats who are suddenly circulating fliers like these. They’ve got nothing to lose at this point with over-the-top pandering to their base, especially the minority voters who tend not to turn out for midterm elections. For months, the Landrieus and Pryors tried to distance themselves from Obama. The White House kept quiet for that, hoping it would work and that Democratic incumbents would manage a small lead into October. It didn’t work. All of them are behind save Kay Hagan, and even Hagan now trails in the latest Survey USA poll. Republicans successfully defined them as Obama toadies; if the Democrats stand pat, they’re going to get wiped out. So here comes Obama and the White House with a hail-mary pass in the final seconds: The GOP’s right! These senators are indeed his toadies. And if you’re a black or Latino voter who loves The One, naturally you should want to protect his toadies. (A DNC ad running in African-American newspapers features the slogan “GET HIS BACK” next to a photo of Obama.) The GOP nationalized the election among non-Democratic voters so now the Dems’ last hope is to make sure it’s been fully nationalized among their base too and hope that a GOTV battle between the two sides produces the same result it did in 2012. It won’t save them the Senate but it might minimize the damage, holding the GOP to a six-seat pick-up instead of a nine-seat win.

The writing’s on the wall, though. Fingers wouldn’t be pointing if it wasn’t.


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