The 2014 midterm elections are nearly upon us, and you know what that means: vulnerable Senate Democrats are doing everything they can to distance themselves from the president.
And I mean everything.
This includes but is not limited to peddling the ridiculous notion that they were actually elected to both "jab" and thwart President Obama's legislative agenda. For example, here’s what Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) recently told the Washington Post:
When Sen. Mark Begich talks about his role in American politics, he describes himself as a sharp object, sent to Washington to jab at President Obama.
“I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior],” Begich (D-Alaska) said in an interview. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”
That metaphor is at the heart of Begich’s political self-image — and, now, his reelection campaign. Begich is running in an age of congressional weakness. Earmarks are dead. The Hill is gridlocked. So Begich has little hope of doing what Alaska always expects its politicians to do: bring home boatloads of money through legislation.
Instead, Begich is running on his power to nag.
In other words, in his own high-minded opinion, Sen. Begich is a genuine profile in courage who is unafraid to push back against the president or his policies. His voting record, however, tells a very different story about his penchant for impartiality, working with Republicans, and bridging partisan divides.
At the same time, his list of “legislative accomplishments” is, shall we say, grossly thin:
Begich, 52, is a first-term senator known for being pro-gun and pro-oil. But he is not actually that well known for anything. In the Senate, Begich is a junior figure, moving through the chamber’s power structure at the speed of a mastodon trapped in a glacier. Over five years, just one of his bills has been passed into law. It renamed a courthouse in Anchorage.
That’s better than nothing, I suppose. Still, using history as our guide, re-electing Sen. Begich can only mean one thing: watching another empty suit vote reliably, and predictably, with his own party for another six years.