There aren't Greek columns tall or wide enough to camouflage Barack Obama's impending North Carolina catastrophe. In September, the campaigner-in-chief will travel to Charlotte for his party's presidential nominating convention. For once, the incurable jetsetter may wish he had stayed home.
Obama's stage managers envision a triumphant, unifying coronation reminiscent of their 2008 DNC production in Denver. But the southern swing state is turning into a Democratic disaster zone.
Start with the North Carolina Democratic Party. At the state party convention last week, Obama for America was AWOL. The glaring absence of high-level national Obama surrogates was noted "as odd," according to the Charlotte News and Observer. There's good reason to steer clear. The party is embroiled in a sordid sex scandal that won't go away.
Earlier this year, former party communications staffer Adriadn Ortega, 26, accused former NCDP executive director Jay Parmley of repeated sexual harassment and physical groping. Documents leaked to the conservative Daily Caller news site revealed a hush-hush financial settlement involving the two men. Ortega was fired; Parmley resigned; state Democrats went into panic mode.
"If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates and our credibility are doomed in this election," a local candidate complained to NCDP chairman David Parker. A defiant Parker resisted statewide calls (including a desperate request from outgoing Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue) to resign. Ortega filed a defamation suit against Parker and the NCDP last week. The White House, which has trumpeted its stand against workplace harassment, has been mute on the story.
Other Democrats are boycotting North Carolina to avoid an entirely different taint: the scandal-plagued president himself. By TheDaily.com's count, at least seven Democratic officials will skip Obama-palooza: New York Democratic Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul; Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mark Critz; three endangered Democratic politicians from West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin, and Rep. Nick Rahall; and Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
The Democratic boycotters have dinged Obama on everything from his election-year illegal alien amnesty power grab to his failed jobs programs to his destructive war on coal. While "Forward!" may be the official Obama campaign slogan, "Back Away!" is quickly becoming the dissenting Democrats' rallying cry.