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Out of Touch Out of Mind

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza posted on his blog yesterday morning this bit of White House Strategery about a Senate vote later in the day on what is known as the DISCLOSE act:

"White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer sought to set the stakes for the fall election. 'Today's vote has the potential to be a defining one for the Republican party,' said Pfeiffer."

First of all there is the title of the bill. DISCLOSE is the acronym for: the "Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections" Act.

And here you thought Members of Congress and their staffs sat around all day wasting time.

That should be the DISBCLOSIE Act, but they didn't ask for my help.

This legislation is designed to partially undo the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case which, effectively, removed many of the rules against labor unions and corporations using organizational funds to pay for campaign ads.

Remember when the President called out the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address? That was the case he was cranky about.

With unemployment still well above 9 percent, it is not clear to me why the Democrats in the House and Senate keep screwing around with these things, but the Senate, yesterday afternoon, took a test vote on the DISBCLOSIE Act and, to the surprise of absolutely no one outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it didn't get the 60 votes needed to proceed.

The political geniuses in the White House have successfully guided Barack Obama's Presidency from demi-god status to the point where Democrats who ar running for office in November are running from Obama in August.

According to Jim Galoway's Atlanta Journal Constitution blog, Roy Barnes, Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, won't be around when Obama comes a'calling. "He plans to be in south Georgia that day," a spokesman explained.

According to the AP's Chuck Babington:

In Missouri, Republican Senate candidate Roy Blunt is airing a TV ad showing Democratic opponent Robin Carnahan campaigning with Obama during a visit to Kansas City.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the Democratic Senate nominee, was absent when Obama made two trips to the state earlier this year.

Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas, said he will not appear with Obama when the president visits his state next week.

The President's approval ratings are averaging 45.7 this week according to the summary. But the really bad news for Obama is that in every single one of this week's polls has his DISapproval higher than his approval except one - where it's tied.

If Dan Pfeiffer is looking for the ways voters will be defining the candidates, let's start with the economy. We've already talked about unemployment. Yesterday the Conference Board's survey of consumer confidence came in at 51.0. What does that mean? According to the AP, "It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy."

The war in Afghanistan? The release of 92,000 documents, according to the Christian Science Monitor, "is likely to reinforce perceptions - specifically, widespread skepticism about Afghanistan and about any prospects for a good outcome there."

To that end, 102 Democrats in the House voted against the war funding bill yesterday. How would you like to be a Democrat running in a swing district having to explain why something just short of half of your caucus refused to support the troops?

More? How about the BP oil spill? According to the Washington Post "BP said Tuesday that it plans to cut its U.S. tax bill by $9.9 billion, or about half the amount pledged to aid victims of the disaster, by deducting costs related to the oil spill."

The Congress will likely change the tax law making BP pay up, but it shows the President wasn't quite Bret Maverick when it came to playing $20 billion poker with BP's Tony Hayward (who was fired yesterday).

Speaking of Congress, Democrats in the House are rocking back-and-forth in their custom-made chairs murmuring prayers that Charlie Rangel cuts a deal with the House Ethics Committee avoiding a trial which will certainly run up to within weeks, of not days, of the election.

So, it turns out the Senate vote on the DISBCLOSIE Act was a defining moment.

It helped define a White House which has demonstrated it is woefully out of touch, and may be out of its political mind.

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