There's a very useful idiom: "The wheels are coming off."
That's not a description of the campaign of President Barack Obama. Yet. But if the past two weeks are any indication, it's time for the campaign to check the lug nuts.
It started a couple of weeks ago when Vice President Joe Biden forced Obama to join him in endorsing gay marriage. The White House - through the campaign staff - tried to pass the word that Biden's statement on a Sunday show was a trial balloon.
When the Earth did not cease spinning on its axis, the story went, Obama decided it was safe to proclaim his modest support for the concept.
That was Mule Muffins, of course. Anyone who watched White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's stumbling through an answer even he didn't believe the day after Biden dropped his "Joe Bomb" knows the White House wasn't prepared to deal with that issue at that time.
Then the campaign decided to take aim at Gov. Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital. First they went after a business that Bain purchased while Romney was running things, but then had to shut down.
Problem was, Romney had been gone for two years by the time that had happened
Well, not a problem for the Obama campaign. They went right along and focused on another business that Bain purchased and then had to shut down. As any producer of negative political ads would have done, they found a suitably aged, suitably angry man who had lost his job and blamed it on Romney.
This was seen not so much as a campaign against Romney, but an attack on the capitalist system of economics.
The Democratic Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker, went on a Sunday show and called the attacks on Bain (as well as an idiotic plan by a GOP operative to revisit the issue of Rev. Jeremiah Wright) "nauseating."
Whoa! Check, please!
Booker was supposed to be on TV as a surrogate for Obama and here he was saying the central theme of the campaign made him ill.
The campaign forced Booker to recant in a YouTube video later that night - which was immediately dubbed a "hostage video" by an unsympathetic press corps - but the damage had already been done.
Booker has since been joined by former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. Alexander Burns wrote in Politico.com that Rendell called "President Barack Obama's Bain attacks 'disappointing.'"
This was after another major African-American political figure, former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. had said "[As a] matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances."