Explanations for Obama’s failures vary in their honesty and persuasiveness, of course. Mary Landrieu represents the more hackish end of the spectrum. Borrowing a line from the New York Times editorial board, Landrieu blamed it all on southern racism and sexism. In fairness, she was speaking specifically about Louisianans — you know, her constituents. But she helpfully managed to throw all of the South under the bus as well. Hey, if you’re going to go down in a blaze of glory, why be stingy with the kerosene?
Of course, the problem with this theory is that Obama is unpopular across America and in at least 43 states. Even the most generous definition of “southern racist” won’t get you that far in explaining his unpopularity in Wisconsin or Michigan. Moreover, for his numbers to be so bad, it means lots of people who voted for him once or even twice must now disapprove of him. Did all of these independents and moderate Republicans wake up one morning and decide to cut some eyeholes in their pillowcases and become Klansmen?