The headline says it all: Obama campaigning against Bush–again. That’s not quite what Mark Critz did when he won John Murtha’s seat in southwestern Pennyslvania. He campaigned against Obama’s agenda.
That Democrat distanced himself from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As Michael Barone put it, “Critz was helped by his conservative stands on health care, guns and cap-and-trade“. Seems that Democrat’s winning formula is not one which embraces the Democrats’ governing agenda.
Yet, for President Obama, he’s returning to the same old formula which served him so well in 2008: run against George W. Bush. Now, while in 2010 as in 2008, W is not on the ballot, there is one big difference that just might have escaped Mr. Obama’s attention–it sure hasn’t escaped ours. Mr. Bush isn’t in the White House any more. He has in fact made himself quite scarce since he left that Washington residence.
As Carol Lee reports in the article linked above:
President Barack Obama is trying to ride the wave of anti-incumbency by taking on an unpopular politician steeped in the partisan ways of Washington.
It doesn’t matter that George W. Bush left office 16 months ago.
The White House’s mid-term election strategy is becoming clear – pit the Democrats of 2010 against the Republicans circa 2006, 2008 and 2009, including Bush.
And Democrats accuse us of being the party of “no”. They’re in power now and still running against George Bush.
Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University called this “a very weak approach. … And I can’t imagine it having an impact on these very swing voters.”
I suggest Democrats take a page for their most junior colleague in the House and start voting against the Obama agenda in Congress, then and only then, would they have a chance to score significant victories this fall.
Why is it that the Democratic incumbent just can’t make a compelling case for his agenda? Why can’t he deliver on his promise as a candidate and rise above petty politics, you know, breaking that “pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.”