It’s a portrait of a failed presidency. Democrats who thrilled to the advent of the Age of Obama are now running for the exits. The American public, entranced, enthralled and seduced by the promise of Barack Obama has discovered that it was all a mirage, a waking dream, that they had been tricked.
Democratic candidates in the midterm elections have understood it well. They are all running, as fast as they can, away from Barack Obama.
Writing in The London Telegraph Peter Foster describes how Americans fell out of love with Barack Obama:
Six years after offering hope and change, polls show the American public has fallen out of love with their president – so where did it all go wrong?
Barack Obama romped to the presidency of the United States in 2008 on a tidal wave of ‘hope and change’. Back then, the financial crisis was raging and US troops were still engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a fresh-faced Mr Obama brimmed with confidence.
He predicted that future generations would look back on his election and see the moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”
Six years later, Mr Obama is weary and greyed and finds his job approval ratings stuck in the low-40s. This October is the 17th consecutive month in which polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of his leadership.
With November’s mid-term elections less than a month away, even fellow Democrats won't be seen dead with the man who once transformed their party's fortunes. Apart from some closed-door fundraisers, Mr Obama is all but invisible on the campaign trail.
Of course, the Telegraph leans right. So it is more telling to see Will Saletan, writing for Slate—which leans left—offering the same assessment:
Six years into Barack Obama’s presidency, voters are sick of him. Most of them disapprove of his job performance. In state after state, Republicans are tying him around the necks of their Democratic opponents. What’s a poor Democrat to do?
The answer, it seems, is to attach yourself to a different president. If possible, a Republican. Or find another conservative icon to embrace: the last GOP presidential nominee, or the one before that, or some Republican colleague you barely know but once worked with on a fish inspection bill.
How bad is it?
Yesterday, Allison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic senate candidate in Kentucky refused to say which presidential candidate received her vote in 2008 and 2012.
The Washington Post described the scene:
Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) this fall, appeared before the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board on Thursday to make her pitch for their endorsement. The life-long Democrat, whose father represented Kentucky for the party in the state House and who herself has been on the ballot in the state on the Democratic ticket, was asked a simple question. Did she vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012?
And she didn't answer. Repeatedly.
In an interesting nod to the times, the interview was streamed live, meaning that it took no time at all for Republicans to clip the non-answer and put it online.
Of course, as Democratic candidates repudiate their president, Paul Krugman has written an article detailing his opinion that Barack Obama is:
… one of the most successful presidents in American history.
Should we ask what Krugman knows that no one else does? Or should we ask what the American people and Democratic politicians know that Krugman willfully ignores?