The elections this week continued the trend. Obama endorsed Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary, but it wasn't enough for her to avoid a runoff. He endorsed snarlin' Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary for the Pennsylvania Senate race, only to see Specter's opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, use that endorsement against Specter as proof of Specter's inside-the-Beltway phoniness.
The much-ballyhooed silver lining for Obama came from the Pennsylvania special election to replace the recently deceased Rep. Jack Murtha. Democrats not only outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the 12th district, but Murtha remains a hero for getting the entire district strung-out on high-grade pork (not the oink-oink kind).
Obama's preferred candidate won there. How did former Murtha aide Mark Critz do it? By promising to be Obama's point man on Capitol Hill? Nope. He ran as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-ObamaCare right-wing Democrat who (dishonestly) denounced his GOP opponent as a tax hiker.
The White House desperately wants the story to be "Voters Mad at Washington," not "Voters Mad at Democrats" or, heaven forbid, "Voters Mad at Obama." But the simple truth is that all three things are true, and Obama deserves much of the blame.
Jay Cost, an indispensable election analyst at RealClearPolitics.com, has it exactly right: " 'Change that you can believe in' has gone from an over-worked campaign slogan to an unfalsifiable hypothesis. Vote for a Dem, you support the President's agenda for change. Vote for a GOPer, you support the President's agenda for change."
This spin has been a long time in coming. After the Scott Brown victory, the White House claimed that the Republican's win was a manifestation of the same political forces that brought Obama to power, even though Brown opposed Obama's agenda, and despite the fact that Obama lustily endorsed Brown's opponent, Martha Coakley. Who, by the way, wasn't an incumbent. She promised to advance Obama's "change" agenda, and she lost. But Obama's just so awesome that what would be political losses for lesser mortals must be more winning proof of his supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness. Because as far as this White House is concerned, nothing is ever Obama's fault and everything is proof of how much we need him.
It's an odd position given how the people who need him least are candidates from his own party.