Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - President Obama isn't doing so good in some of his party primaries where a surprisingly large number of Democrats are giving him the thumbs down.

Little attention is being paid by the national news media to the Democrats' presidential primaries because Obama is assured of his nomination. But the large size of the anti-Obama vote -- exposing deep unrest in his party's political base -- has shaken his campaign's high command.

The latest explosions came in Tuesday's Kentucky and Arkansas primaries which of course he won easily. But a stunning 42 percent of Kentucky Democrats voted for "uncommitted" on their ballot.

In yellow-dog Democrat Arkansas, 42 percent voted for a little- known Tennessee lawyer, John Wolfe, over the president of the United States.

And two weeks ago in the West Virginia primary, Keith Judd, a convicted felon and now Texas prison inmate got 41 percent of the vote.

Some smarty-pants political pundits who think they know everything say some of this is about race and that these states are firmly in the GOP column anyway.

"You will forgive me, I hope, a lack of excitement about the 'story' of the president's weakness in these two states [i.e. Arkansas and Kentucky] and in other border states with large fossil-fuel energy industries and relatively few African-Americans, since I've been reading about it since the 2008 primaries," says Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore in Wednesday's Washington Monthly Political Animal blog.

But others think the Democrats' sizeable anti-Obama vote in the party primaries has much deeper implications for the 2012 elections.

Such strong antipathy toward Obama at this end point in his trouble-plagued presidency is "an indicator of not-insignificant pockets of unrest within his party," writes The Washington Post's campaign trackers Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake.

Racial factors "may be less of a problem for Obama than the broader cultural disconnect that many of these voters feel with the Democratic Party." And they quote Democrats who point to growing grievances that many in their party have over the political direction Obama is taking the country.

"The most significant factor is the perception/reality the Obama administration has leaned toward the ultra-left," says former Democratic Congressman Charles Stenholm of Texas.

That's certainly true in the coal-rich Appalachia states where Obama's zeal for eliminating coal as one of the fuels that run our country has triggered a political backlash at him and the Environmental Protection Agency that is carrying out his anti-coal agenda.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.