Saturday, September 04, 2010

Is Obama A Liability?

President Barack Obama is due in Connecticut on September 16th in Stamford to raise money for U.S. Senate candidate-State Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, and Mr. Blumenthal’s office has just released a media report that the attorney general-U.S. Senate candidate will show up for the event.

Mr. Blumenthal’s statement is straightforward enough. Over a twenty year period, citizens of the state have come to expect straight-talk from Attorney General Blumenthal:

“I look forward to welcoming the President of the United States to Connecticut. It is an honor to have his support and his assistance. His visit will make a difference for us, energizing our supporters and helping us raise the resources we need against my opponent who is spending an unprecedented $50 million on her campaign.”
A carefully crafted caveat was delivered by Blumenthal spokesman Marla Romash: “Dick has always said when he agrees with the President he’ll stand with him and when he doesn’t he won’t … The bottom line here is the most important thing for Dick has always been and always will be what’s best for Connecticut.”

And what’s best for Connecticut are dollars for Dick.

The Linda McMahon campaign, rather hoping to pin Blumenthal to Obama’s increasingly truncated coattails, issued its own caveat through press spokesman Ed Patru:

“Dick Blumenthal is just another politician. He hasn’t been honest about special interest money, and he supported a partisan assault on health care that was put together behind closed doors and now is costing us all. He supports the President’s national energy tax, and he supports higher taxes on Connecticut’s small businesses. We are not going to get our economy growing again by electing more politicians who don’t get it. More of the same is just not good enough.”

Earlier in the week, former Chairman of the Democratic Party John Droney, an old time political pugilist, was asked by Dennis House on “Face the State” whether he thought it was a good idea to invite Obama to Connecticut to campaign for Democrats. With refreshing honesty, Mr. Droney -- subbing on the program for the party’s semi-invisible chairwoman Nancy DiNardo – replied he did not think that would be helpful. Using Mr. Obama as a dollar magnet for Democratic candidates was, on the other hand, a horse of a different color.

There was a day when Mr. Obama could be relied upon to sent a chill up the leg of Chris Mathews, the formidable host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” but this was during a campaign in which Mr. Obama, glancing nervously over his shoulder at Hillary Clinton, steered his ship towards a more moderate center, except on some few vote churning issues such as bringing troops home from the war in Iraq by the Spring of 2008, closing down GITMO weeks into his presidency and promising to devote quality time in the oval office to bringing in Osama bin Ladin -- dead or alive.

Since having been elected president, the national economy, perversely refusing to respond to Mr. Obama’s stimulus packages, continues to steam, full speed ahead, towards economic sand bars; the nation’s Gross National Product is heading for the cemetery; GITMO is still open for business; the war in Afghanistan, a collection of tribes sometime called the “graveyard of empires,” is proceeding apace; terrorists whose names no one can pronounce are being tried in military courts; the post-terrorist security apparatus in the United States continues to threaten the liberties of non-terrorist citizens; the trial in New York city of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9-11, has been derailed; Iran’s nuclear machinery, fine tuned both by China and Russia, will soon be fully functioning; the Democratic controlled U.S. Congress has passed, over the strenuous objections of minority Republicans, two massive spending programs; the Frankensteinian Dodd-Frank bill regulates many untidy corners of the economy but leaves Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the chief culprits of the Bush era economic collapse, unmarred by the Dodd-Frank regulatory deep sea squid.

Mr. Droney, and some few other concerned centrist Democrats, are necessarily queasy about all this.

The good news is that while perambulating around Waterbury (unemployment rate 14.4 percent), New Britain (13 percent) and Torrington (11 percent), knocking on doors and talking to non-millionaires in Connecticut’s 5th District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy has discovered “anecdotal signs” that the economy is recovering and that the Obama’s stimulus, “an appropriate blend of tax cuts and stimulus spending,” part of a larger vision in his party’s recovery strategy, has worked its magic.


Mr. Murphy’s Republican opponent, Sam Caliguiri, cool to Mr. Murphy’s anecdotal evidence, is convinced that his opponent, unable to read the signs of the times, has kissed reality goodbye.

While Mr. Murphy has not asked the president to campaign for him, he told the Housatonic Times, “I’d welcome him to come to Connecticut. It would be a great opportunity to focus national attention on the challenges people are facing in this tough economy.”

Republicans are likely to agree.
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