As even The Daily Beast is forced to acknowledge, Obama continues to act as an albatross around the neck of Democrat hopes for holding onto control of the Senate this year. So much so, that many have now resorted to attacking their very own guy in the White House.
Of the 10 states where Obama has his lowest approval ratings in the nation, Democrats are defending Senate seats in five, including South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Arkansas. Plenty more states where Obama’s ratings hover between 30 percent and 40 percent, like Colorado and Louisiana, feature incumbents defending seats, while in the two states where Democrats most hope to pick up seats, Kentucky and Georgia, Obama’s approval ratings are 35 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
It’s an association that’s giving red state Democrats more than a little heartburn as they proactively work to distance themselves from the White House without also alienating base Democratic voters they’ll need in November or losing out on Obama’s still powerful fundraising apparatus.
America’s energy producing states stand out as especially tough for Democrats this year. From a Natalie Tennant ad in West Virginia turning off the lights in the White House, to Landrieu running ads attacking Obama – and Grimes in Kentucky doing the same, the party of Obama seems desperate to become the party of No-bama. If they were Republicans, the media would be calling them racists by now.
The balance can be awkward, to say the least. Take Alaska, where Obama’s approval rating is 35 percent and incumbent Sen. Mark Begich recently told The Washington Post that his approach to the president is to be a thorn in Obama’s backside: “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”
Far to the South in Louisiana, where Obama’s numbers bump up just to 40 percent, one of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s first ads featured footage of the senator calling out the White House as “simply wrong” on oil and gas production, the state’s most important industry.
In Kentucky, the Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes released a radio ad hammering Obama for his policy on coal, her state’s leading industry. “Your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie-in-the-sky regulations,” she says in a message to the president. “You have no idea how this affects Kentucky.”