Commentary Magazine


Topic: Connecticut Senate

Amanpour Campaigns for Blumenthal

Regular readers know that I’ve kept a close eye on the ludicrously biased Christiane Amanpour. Her biases usually reveal themselves in the foreign policy realm. But a reader points out how partisan her segment on the Connecticut Senate race was this weekend. The transcript doesn’t do her shilling for the Democrat justice. Take eight minutes and watch the segment. I’ll highlight a few of the more egregious examples.

First, Amanpour’s opening describes Linda McMahon as “a wealthy” businesswoman who has spent “tens of millions of her own fortune.” Blumenthal is not described in any such unflattering terms (e.g., as a “professional politician who got trapped in a series of lies”). Her expression as she questions (and re-questions) McMahon about the minimum wage and the images of women in the World Wrestling Entertainment events reveals Amanpour’s obvious disdain and incredulity. Next, around the six-minute mark, she finally gets to Richard Blumenthal’s lying about his war record. She asks a single question — a process question, as to whether it will hurt him — with no follow-up. Her expression is one of serious contemplation.

You’d expect this on MSNBC. But ABC News has on Sunday mornings (and, frankly, in its evening broadcasts as well) tried to steer clear of liberal hackery. Amanpour’s disinclination to hide or even restrain her unbridled partisanship isn’t getting ABC ratings. But it could very well ruin its brand. Maybe the brain trust that gave her the job should reconsider if it is worth it keeping her there.

Regular readers know that I’ve kept a close eye on the ludicrously biased Christiane Amanpour. Her biases usually reveal themselves in the foreign policy realm. But a reader points out how partisan her segment on the Connecticut Senate race was this weekend. The transcript doesn’t do her shilling for the Democrat justice. Take eight minutes and watch the segment. I’ll highlight a few of the more egregious examples.

First, Amanpour’s opening describes Linda McMahon as “a wealthy” businesswoman who has spent “tens of millions of her own fortune.” Blumenthal is not described in any such unflattering terms (e.g., as a “professional politician who got trapped in a series of lies”). Her expression as she questions (and re-questions) McMahon about the minimum wage and the images of women in the World Wrestling Entertainment events reveals Amanpour’s obvious disdain and incredulity. Next, around the six-minute mark, she finally gets to Richard Blumenthal’s lying about his war record. She asks a single question — a process question, as to whether it will hurt him — with no follow-up. Her expression is one of serious contemplation.

You’d expect this on MSNBC. But ABC News has on Sunday mornings (and, frankly, in its evening broadcasts as well) tried to steer clear of liberal hackery. Amanpour’s disinclination to hide or even restrain her unbridled partisanship isn’t getting ABC ratings. But it could very well ruin its brand. Maybe the brain trust that gave her the job should reconsider if it is worth it keeping her there.

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Blumenthal Needed a Debate Knockout. He Didn’t Get It.

The Connecticut Senate race provides an interesting test case for the proposition that the old political rules don’t apply this year. As demonstrated by last night’s debate between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon, this election seems to be a referendum on the resumes of the two candidates. Voters are being asked to choose between a man who has spent his entire adult life on the public payroll and a woman who has spent her life in the private sector. Both have serious flaws. But the question is not only which of those flaws (Blumenthal’s lying about his military service during the Vietnam War or McMahon’s involvement with the disreputable world of professional wrestling) is more damning but also what sort of a potential senator fits the mood of the electorate this fall.

Polls have fluctuated, with the latest ones showing the Democrat gaining ground after earlier surveys indicated that his lead, once huge, had shrunk down to nearly nothing. But as Paul Bass, the editor of the New Haven Independent, wrote last week in the New York Times, McMahon’s association with wrestling has helped rather than hurt her. That’s due not only to the changes in culture, which render the scripted violence of the WWE less appalling to the public, but also because its edgy tenor appeals to a wider demographic (including, as Bass notes, working-class and Hispanic voters, who are an important part of the Democrats’ base) than perhaps it once did.

As New York Times blogger Nate Silver has noted, there might be very few undecided voters left in this race, a fact that should work to Blumenthal’s advantage. But Blumenthal, the man the Times has called “Martha Coakley in Pants,” needed to demonstrate in this first debate that, whatever his own failings, his opponent was simply unsuitable to serve in the Senate. He did not do that last night and is unlikely to make that point stick in the month remaining before Election Day.

McMahon’s demonstrated ability to go toe-to-toe with Blumenthal in the debate and still emerge on her feet was crucial to her candidacy. In an election year in which even Connecticut’s liberal voters are largely dissatisfied with the political class and its addiction to spending and taxes, Blumenthal’s riposte to McMahon’s answers to a debate question about how to create jobs — “I’m not running to be an entrepreneur as a senator” — hit exactly the wrong note for 2010. If results from generic polls — such as Gallup’s survey, which showed a huge swing to the Republicans over Democrats — are credible, then there are going to be some results next month that will be driven by this wave of political sentiment in spite of the conventional wisdom about the individual candidates. For all the Democrats’ inherent advantages in that state, the Connecticut race may show how a flawed candidate running on a record of private business accomplishments and skepticism toward government will have an edge this November over another flawed one whose life has been spent in public office.

The Connecticut Senate race provides an interesting test case for the proposition that the old political rules don’t apply this year. As demonstrated by last night’s debate between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon, this election seems to be a referendum on the resumes of the two candidates. Voters are being asked to choose between a man who has spent his entire adult life on the public payroll and a woman who has spent her life in the private sector. Both have serious flaws. But the question is not only which of those flaws (Blumenthal’s lying about his military service during the Vietnam War or McMahon’s involvement with the disreputable world of professional wrestling) is more damning but also what sort of a potential senator fits the mood of the electorate this fall.

Polls have fluctuated, with the latest ones showing the Democrat gaining ground after earlier surveys indicated that his lead, once huge, had shrunk down to nearly nothing. But as Paul Bass, the editor of the New Haven Independent, wrote last week in the New York Times, McMahon’s association with wrestling has helped rather than hurt her. That’s due not only to the changes in culture, which render the scripted violence of the WWE less appalling to the public, but also because its edgy tenor appeals to a wider demographic (including, as Bass notes, working-class and Hispanic voters, who are an important part of the Democrats’ base) than perhaps it once did.

As New York Times blogger Nate Silver has noted, there might be very few undecided voters left in this race, a fact that should work to Blumenthal’s advantage. But Blumenthal, the man the Times has called “Martha Coakley in Pants,” needed to demonstrate in this first debate that, whatever his own failings, his opponent was simply unsuitable to serve in the Senate. He did not do that last night and is unlikely to make that point stick in the month remaining before Election Day.

McMahon’s demonstrated ability to go toe-to-toe with Blumenthal in the debate and still emerge on her feet was crucial to her candidacy. In an election year in which even Connecticut’s liberal voters are largely dissatisfied with the political class and its addiction to spending and taxes, Blumenthal’s riposte to McMahon’s answers to a debate question about how to create jobs — “I’m not running to be an entrepreneur as a senator” — hit exactly the wrong note for 2010. If results from generic polls — such as Gallup’s survey, which showed a huge swing to the Republicans over Democrats — are credible, then there are going to be some results next month that will be driven by this wave of political sentiment in spite of the conventional wisdom about the individual candidates. For all the Democrats’ inherent advantages in that state, the Connecticut race may show how a flawed candidate running on a record of private business accomplishments and skepticism toward government will have an edge this November over another flawed one whose life has been spent in public office.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Obama’s baddest critic warns him about flip-floppery on the Ground Zero mosque: “Mr. Obama, you are not the mayor of Podunk arguing with the City Council over sewer versus septic; you are the president of the United States of America , the greatest country in the world! It may be that your utterances are sounding like indefensible rubbish to more and more of us, but at the very least you, the presidential enunciator of them, ought to have the courage to defend them —especially when they’re already in writing.”

Greg Sargent warns anti-Israel Democrats that the Emergency Committee for Israel is putting them ”on notice that if they criticize Israel, they can expect to be targeted, too.” Or, to put it differently, it will be harder to fake being pro-Israel.

Charlie Cook warns Democrats that the Connecticut Senate race will tighten. And sure enough: “The first Rasmussen Reports post-primary telephone survey of Likely Connecticut Voters finds that Democrat Richard Blumenthal has slipped below the 50% mark of support this month against Republican Linda McMahon in the state’s U.S. Senate race.”

Bill Kristol warns the left to get a grip: “The ‘f*ck tea’ movement [the real name of a new leftist undertaking] — that’s what the left has come to. They can’t defend the results of Obama’s policies or the validity of Krugman’s arguments. They know it’s hard to sustain an antidemocratic ethos in a democracy. They realize they’ve degenerated into pro-am levels of whining and squabbling. So they curse their opponents.”

The Gray Lady warns politicians to avoid Michelle Obama’s vacation gaffe: ”Forget the lush beaches of Bora Bora or the Campari-soaked cafes along the Côte d’Azur. And don’t even think about Rome or Paris. Astute Washington politicians have long known that when it comes to politically palatable summer vacations, it is best not to cross any oceans. Or even seas. Michelle Obama violated one of this city’s most sacrosanct unwritten rules when she went to Spain — during a recession, no less — with her daughter and a few friends.”

Senate Republicans warn the administration that its pick for ambassador to Turkey is a no-go: “The nomination of Frank Ricciardone to be the next U.S. ambassador to Turkey is being held up in the Senate and the GOP has no intention of allowing a vote on the nomination any time soon. … The administration might be wary of spending its limited political capital to push through the Ricciardone nomination to a floor debate in the Senate because it could open up a broader public discussion of Turkey policy the White House might not think is useful given the delicate diplomatic environment.”

Douglas Schoen warns fellow Democrats: “The recent discouraging economic news is a watershed for the Obama administration — at least as far as the midterms are concerned. It discredits one of the administration’s few remaining positive arguments: that the administration ushered in an economic recovery that otherwise might not have occurred.”

Bibi warns the world, explains George Will: “If Iran were to ‘wipe the Zionist entity off the map,’ as it vows to do, it would, Netanyahu believes, achieve a regional ‘dominance not seen since Alexander.’ … He says that 1948 meant this: ‘For the first time in 2,000 years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend itself against attack.’ And he says: ‘The tragic history of the powerlessness of our people explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense.’ If Israel strikes Iran, the world will not be able to say it was not warned.” Nor will it be able to say that, by leaving the job to Israel, Obama fufilled his role as leader of the Free World.

Obama’s baddest critic warns him about flip-floppery on the Ground Zero mosque: “Mr. Obama, you are not the mayor of Podunk arguing with the City Council over sewer versus septic; you are the president of the United States of America , the greatest country in the world! It may be that your utterances are sounding like indefensible rubbish to more and more of us, but at the very least you, the presidential enunciator of them, ought to have the courage to defend them —especially when they’re already in writing.”

Greg Sargent warns anti-Israel Democrats that the Emergency Committee for Israel is putting them ”on notice that if they criticize Israel, they can expect to be targeted, too.” Or, to put it differently, it will be harder to fake being pro-Israel.

Charlie Cook warns Democrats that the Connecticut Senate race will tighten. And sure enough: “The first Rasmussen Reports post-primary telephone survey of Likely Connecticut Voters finds that Democrat Richard Blumenthal has slipped below the 50% mark of support this month against Republican Linda McMahon in the state’s U.S. Senate race.”

Bill Kristol warns the left to get a grip: “The ‘f*ck tea’ movement [the real name of a new leftist undertaking] — that’s what the left has come to. They can’t defend the results of Obama’s policies or the validity of Krugman’s arguments. They know it’s hard to sustain an antidemocratic ethos in a democracy. They realize they’ve degenerated into pro-am levels of whining and squabbling. So they curse their opponents.”

The Gray Lady warns politicians to avoid Michelle Obama’s vacation gaffe: ”Forget the lush beaches of Bora Bora or the Campari-soaked cafes along the Côte d’Azur. And don’t even think about Rome or Paris. Astute Washington politicians have long known that when it comes to politically palatable summer vacations, it is best not to cross any oceans. Or even seas. Michelle Obama violated one of this city’s most sacrosanct unwritten rules when she went to Spain — during a recession, no less — with her daughter and a few friends.”

Senate Republicans warn the administration that its pick for ambassador to Turkey is a no-go: “The nomination of Frank Ricciardone to be the next U.S. ambassador to Turkey is being held up in the Senate and the GOP has no intention of allowing a vote on the nomination any time soon. … The administration might be wary of spending its limited political capital to push through the Ricciardone nomination to a floor debate in the Senate because it could open up a broader public discussion of Turkey policy the White House might not think is useful given the delicate diplomatic environment.”

Douglas Schoen warns fellow Democrats: “The recent discouraging economic news is a watershed for the Obama administration — at least as far as the midterms are concerned. It discredits one of the administration’s few remaining positive arguments: that the administration ushered in an economic recovery that otherwise might not have occurred.”

Bibi warns the world, explains George Will: “If Iran were to ‘wipe the Zionist entity off the map,’ as it vows to do, it would, Netanyahu believes, achieve a regional ‘dominance not seen since Alexander.’ … He says that 1948 meant this: ‘For the first time in 2,000 years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend itself against attack.’ And he says: ‘The tragic history of the powerlessness of our people explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense.’ If Israel strikes Iran, the world will not be able to say it was not warned.” Nor will it be able to say that, by leaving the job to Israel, Obama fufilled his role as leader of the Free World.

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Blumenthal Will Go National

Of the many surprising political developments of the past year – Obama’s plummet in the polls, the passage of ObamaCare in the face of strong popular opposition, and the revival of the Republican Party — there is none so strikingly bizarre and self-destructive as Richard Blumenthal’s defiant press conference and the Democrats’ determination to rally around him. Former DNC head Howard Dean was among the latest to defend Blumenthal from the “hatchet job,” as he calls it, which exposed his repeated lies about Vietnam military service. The entire Democratic political establishment rallies to such a figure, circles the wagons, and, given the short timeline for coming up with a replacement, seems poised to risk the Connecticut Senate seat for such a character.

But here’s the thing: it’s not simply a Connecticut issue. Savvy Republicans will soon realize that this is a national issue of integrity and ethics for the entire Democratic establishment, personifying the party’s obtuseness and contempt for the values of average Americans. I imagine that every Republican on the ballot will condemn Blumenthal and challenge his Democratic opponent to do the same. If they join in the condemnation, the Connecticut seat will be further imperiled. And if they don’t, the issue then becomes that Democrat’s lack of moral compass and out-to-lunch mentality.

Democrats have a window of time to spare themselves this debacle. Republicans are surely hoping they don’t realize just how ridiculous they seem.

Of the many surprising political developments of the past year – Obama’s plummet in the polls, the passage of ObamaCare in the face of strong popular opposition, and the revival of the Republican Party — there is none so strikingly bizarre and self-destructive as Richard Blumenthal’s defiant press conference and the Democrats’ determination to rally around him. Former DNC head Howard Dean was among the latest to defend Blumenthal from the “hatchet job,” as he calls it, which exposed his repeated lies about Vietnam military service. The entire Democratic political establishment rallies to such a figure, circles the wagons, and, given the short timeline for coming up with a replacement, seems poised to risk the Connecticut Senate seat for such a character.

But here’s the thing: it’s not simply a Connecticut issue. Savvy Republicans will soon realize that this is a national issue of integrity and ethics for the entire Democratic establishment, personifying the party’s obtuseness and contempt for the values of average Americans. I imagine that every Republican on the ballot will condemn Blumenthal and challenge his Democratic opponent to do the same. If they join in the condemnation, the Connecticut seat will be further imperiled. And if they don’t, the issue then becomes that Democrat’s lack of moral compass and out-to-lunch mentality.

Democrats have a window of time to spare themselves this debacle. Republicans are surely hoping they don’t realize just how ridiculous they seem.

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Blumenthal Presser Fallout

The non-apology by Richard Blumenthal and the scandal over his lies about his service record are being assessed. The Cook Political Report (subscription required) finds:

There are some political observers who don’t believe that Blumenthal can survive this incident. Whether that’s true will be determined over the next couple of days and will depend on whether the media uncovers more examples of Blumenthal misrepresenting his service, or if doubts are raised about what the Attorney General said this afternoon.

Our early guess is that Blumenthal does survive, but that he is no longer the heavy favorite he was just 24 hours ago, and Republicans will now play on a more level playing field. As such, the race is moving to the Toss Up column.

Meanwhile, Vets for Freedom has put out a statement calling on Blumenthal to actually apologize:

He never set foot in a combat zone—even though he gladly perpetuated the politically-expedient perception that he had—and should apologize to real Vietnam combat veterans for this gross violation of honor.

After the New York Times exposed his real service record, Mr. Blumenthal remained defiant at his rebuttal press conference, saying he takes “full responsibility” for the statements, yet refuses to apologize. Mr. Blumenthal also claims he merely “misspoke” on a few occasions, and did so unknowingly. As a combat veteran of Iraq, I find this very hard to believe. All veterans know what they did and where they were. There’s a big difference between the battlefield and your hometown. … Mr. Blumenthal should apologize, and should start with his fellow Connecticut Senate candidate Rob Simmons, who served 19 months on the ground in Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars. Mr. Simmons is a real combat veteran, and his record actually back it up.

I asked veteran (real one) and executive director Pete Hegseth if Vets for Freedom would call on Blumenthal to get out of the race or resign as attorney general. He replied: “First and foremost, we are calling on him to actually apologize — which he has thus far refused to do. If he will not, we will look at other options.” Even on MSNBC’s Ed Shultz show last night, the host and Bill Press agreed that Blumenthal is “dead in the water.” Chris Matthews took a similar position.

If Vets for Freedom and other groups call for Blumenthal to get out, it is hard to see how he will survive. And given the reaction in the liberal network of choice, it is hard to imagine that Democrats will stick with him and go down with the man who lied about serving in Vietnam. Remarkable that MSNBC is now the voice of sanity in the Democratic Party.

The non-apology by Richard Blumenthal and the scandal over his lies about his service record are being assessed. The Cook Political Report (subscription required) finds:

There are some political observers who don’t believe that Blumenthal can survive this incident. Whether that’s true will be determined over the next couple of days and will depend on whether the media uncovers more examples of Blumenthal misrepresenting his service, or if doubts are raised about what the Attorney General said this afternoon.

Our early guess is that Blumenthal does survive, but that he is no longer the heavy favorite he was just 24 hours ago, and Republicans will now play on a more level playing field. As such, the race is moving to the Toss Up column.

Meanwhile, Vets for Freedom has put out a statement calling on Blumenthal to actually apologize:

He never set foot in a combat zone—even though he gladly perpetuated the politically-expedient perception that he had—and should apologize to real Vietnam combat veterans for this gross violation of honor.

After the New York Times exposed his real service record, Mr. Blumenthal remained defiant at his rebuttal press conference, saying he takes “full responsibility” for the statements, yet refuses to apologize. Mr. Blumenthal also claims he merely “misspoke” on a few occasions, and did so unknowingly. As a combat veteran of Iraq, I find this very hard to believe. All veterans know what they did and where they were. There’s a big difference between the battlefield and your hometown. … Mr. Blumenthal should apologize, and should start with his fellow Connecticut Senate candidate Rob Simmons, who served 19 months on the ground in Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars. Mr. Simmons is a real combat veteran, and his record actually back it up.

I asked veteran (real one) and executive director Pete Hegseth if Vets for Freedom would call on Blumenthal to get out of the race or resign as attorney general. He replied: “First and foremost, we are calling on him to actually apologize — which he has thus far refused to do. If he will not, we will look at other options.” Even on MSNBC’s Ed Shultz show last night, the host and Bill Press agreed that Blumenthal is “dead in the water.” Chris Matthews took a similar position.

If Vets for Freedom and other groups call for Blumenthal to get out, it is hard to see how he will survive. And given the reaction in the liberal network of choice, it is hard to imagine that Democrats will stick with him and go down with the man who lied about serving in Vietnam. Remarkable that MSNBC is now the voice of sanity in the Democratic Party.

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The Touch of Political Death?

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The White House is reaching into political races nationwide to urge its preferred candidates to seek election to competitive seats, while helping to nudge weak contenders out of the way, according to party officials familiar with the moves.

It isn’t unusual for a president to pick favorites, but the sense of urgency is heightened this year by Democrats’ sense that a difficult election year lies ahead.

Sometimes this might make sense, as with the effort to push Chris Dodd into retirement and potentially rescue the Connecticut Senate seat that had appeared lost as long as the senator from Countrywide remained in the race. But the danger of White House meddling is three-fold.

First, the appearance on the scene of the White House political hacks has the aura of buzzards circling a bleeding beast. For example:

In Ohio, White House political director Patrick Gaspard has been in conversations with Gov. Ted Strickland, whose approval ratings have slipped and who is facing a challenge from former Republican Rep. John Kasich. Democrats there say the White House is backing Mr. Strickland’s re-election bid but is focused on reigniting the grassroots effort that helped Mr. Obama win there in 2008 and would be necessary for success again in 2012.

Translation: Strickland is in trouble (having gone from a huge double-digit lead to a 9-point deficit in the last Rasmussen poll in his matchup against John Kasich), and the White House has now advertised that to voters and donors alike. No doubt Strickland isn’t pleased to have it known that he’s been paid a visit by the White House fix-it team.

Second, this may not be the year to be the handpicked candidate of Barack Obama. It didn’t do Jon Corzine any good. And that was in a state in which Obama is still relatively popular. Do candidates in Michigan or Ohio really want to be tied to the White House and its agenda? That seemed to work out not at all for Creigh Deeds in Virginia.

And finally, it’s not clear that the White House has the magic touch. It seems that the White House is backing Kirsten Gillibrand against a potential challenge from Harold Ford Jr. (who doesn’t thrill the liberal base), but is Gillibrand really the strongest candidate in the field? (In December, the Quinnipiac poll reported: “New York City Comptroller William Thompson leads incumbent U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand 41 – 28 percent in a possible 2010 Democratic primary race.”) And recall it was the White House, with the keen political acumen of Joe Biden, that convinced Arlen Specter to switch parties and now is backing him in the Pennsylvania primary, though he’s now tied with Republican Pat Toomey in recent polling.

The White House’s triage efforts are understandable. Democrats may be headed for a shellacking in November, so it’s time to pull out all the stops. But it’s not at all clear that candidates selected by the White House will fare any better than those whom Democratic voters, through a normal primary process, may select. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that Democrats are in trouble in no small part because of the White House’s hyper-partisan tone, ultra-left-wing agenda, and fixation on a health-care bill the country doesn’t want. Democrats might do better if they distanced themselves from Obama and found candidates who weren’t propped up by the gang that thought ObamaCare and cap-and-trade were political winners.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The White House is reaching into political races nationwide to urge its preferred candidates to seek election to competitive seats, while helping to nudge weak contenders out of the way, according to party officials familiar with the moves.

It isn’t unusual for a president to pick favorites, but the sense of urgency is heightened this year by Democrats’ sense that a difficult election year lies ahead.

Sometimes this might make sense, as with the effort to push Chris Dodd into retirement and potentially rescue the Connecticut Senate seat that had appeared lost as long as the senator from Countrywide remained in the race. But the danger of White House meddling is three-fold.

First, the appearance on the scene of the White House political hacks has the aura of buzzards circling a bleeding beast. For example:

In Ohio, White House political director Patrick Gaspard has been in conversations with Gov. Ted Strickland, whose approval ratings have slipped and who is facing a challenge from former Republican Rep. John Kasich. Democrats there say the White House is backing Mr. Strickland’s re-election bid but is focused on reigniting the grassroots effort that helped Mr. Obama win there in 2008 and would be necessary for success again in 2012.

Translation: Strickland is in trouble (having gone from a huge double-digit lead to a 9-point deficit in the last Rasmussen poll in his matchup against John Kasich), and the White House has now advertised that to voters and donors alike. No doubt Strickland isn’t pleased to have it known that he’s been paid a visit by the White House fix-it team.

Second, this may not be the year to be the handpicked candidate of Barack Obama. It didn’t do Jon Corzine any good. And that was in a state in which Obama is still relatively popular. Do candidates in Michigan or Ohio really want to be tied to the White House and its agenda? That seemed to work out not at all for Creigh Deeds in Virginia.

And finally, it’s not clear that the White House has the magic touch. It seems that the White House is backing Kirsten Gillibrand against a potential challenge from Harold Ford Jr. (who doesn’t thrill the liberal base), but is Gillibrand really the strongest candidate in the field? (In December, the Quinnipiac poll reported: “New York City Comptroller William Thompson leads incumbent U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand 41 – 28 percent in a possible 2010 Democratic primary race.”) And recall it was the White House, with the keen political acumen of Joe Biden, that convinced Arlen Specter to switch parties and now is backing him in the Pennsylvania primary, though he’s now tied with Republican Pat Toomey in recent polling.

The White House’s triage efforts are understandable. Democrats may be headed for a shellacking in November, so it’s time to pull out all the stops. But it’s not at all clear that candidates selected by the White House will fare any better than those whom Democratic voters, through a normal primary process, may select. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that Democrats are in trouble in no small part because of the White House’s hyper-partisan tone, ultra-left-wing agenda, and fixation on a health-care bill the country doesn’t want. Democrats might do better if they distanced themselves from Obama and found candidates who weren’t propped up by the gang that thought ObamaCare and cap-and-trade were political winners.

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