Ouch, this must hurt:

President Obama delivered a blow to Democratic Senate candidates looking to distance themselves from his flagging approval ratings Monday…

“The bottom line is though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress; they are on the right side of minimum wage; they are on the right side of fair pay; they are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure; they’re on the right side of early childhood education.”

Obama went on to say that his feelings weren’t hurt by Democrats who were reluctant to campaign with him.

“These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, ‘You know what, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure our voters turn out.’”

The president’s remarks appear tailor-made for Republican attack ads in states like Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kentucky and Alaska, where GOP candidates have painted their Democratic opponents as rubber stamps for the administration’s policies.

What’s going on here? Does Obama want those Democrats to lose?

There are three possibilities. The first is that he doesn’t realize how toxic he’s become. He’s isolated in the White House with his devotees, and that plus the depth of his narcissism protect him. Long story short, he actually thinks these sorts of statements are helpful.

The second is that he’s just trying to rally his base and get them to vote, saying (wink, wink) that these candidates distancing themselves from him is just a ruse, and that they’ll be good and loyal liberals once they’re safely elected.

The third is that he doesn’t care all that much if these people win or not, and that he’s punishing them for their desertion. His message is that, if they think they can run away from him, they’ve got another thing coming.

But why wouldn’t he care if they lose? Doesn’t he need them to be effective in his last two years as president? There’s a good chance that Obama doesn’t think so. He’s got this imperial presidency thing down pretty well by now. If he loses the Senate, he’s still got the veto, his pen, and his phone—and the excuse that he has to use them because the Republicans just won’t cooperate.

The three possibilities are not mutually exclusive, either.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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