Democrats Afraid to be Seen with Obama?
Democrats Afraid to Be Seen with Obama?
Competing for a speaking slot at the Democratic
and Republican parties’ presidential nominating conventions is a
time-honored tradition every four years. The reason is simple:
presidential nominees are generally popular within the party and may be
the next leader of the free world, and the conventions provide an
opportunity to be seen and heard by millions of Americans. (Nielsen
keeps historical convention ratings for Democrats here, and Republicans here.)
So it is surely a sign of something close to panic that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head Steve Israel is publicly advising Democrats to stay home from President Obama’s nominating convention this year:
The man responsible for getting Democrats elected to the
Congress this fall has a message for his party’s candidates: Stay away
from the Democratic National Convention in September.
“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their
districts,” New York Congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Reuters Washington
Summit on Tuesday.
Who would have guessed the clear favorite for “least convincing
political spin of the year” would go to someone other than Jay Carney or
Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Not a single person will buy this spin, for
two reasons: First, even if the Democrats expected another wave election
in favor of the GOP, the very candidates most susceptible to that
wave–less experienced members of the House–would benefit most by
appearing at the convention, as it would raise their profile. And
second, the announcement from Israel came after Democratic politicians began heading for the lifeboats.
The most notable of these Democrats was Missouri Senator Claire
McCaskill, whose declaration that she would be caught nowhere near the
president’s convention seems to have spooked her party into making a
monumental unforced error. If Democrats think they’re headed for another
shellacking at the polls, perhaps they know something the rest of the
country doesn’t. Because there haven’t been any serious indicators of
such a wave–at least nothing like 2010.
Volunteering that information won’t help them, because it won’t
increase turnout and it will draw attention to the left’s sense of
impending doom–something that occasionally develops into a
self-fulfilling prophecy. It also forces media outlets to report a story
that has thus far flown below the radar. If this were happening to a
Republican administration, mainstream newspapers would be running story
after story about how the president is so unpopular, even within his own
party, that no one will be seen with him, his governance too radical
even for the radicals.
But those stories had yet to appear this time, with the media’s
election-year sensitivity to Obama’s image helpfully guiding them.
Israel took a story the president’s allies were keeping under wraps and
put it in neon lights. Don’t believe the polls showing Obama and Romney
just about even, the DCCC itself seems to be saying, the president is
politically toxic and everyone knows it.
Well, now everyone knows it.
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