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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Everybody Hurts, Sometimes



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The Washington Post unveils a story of Rust Belt Democrats feeling abandoned by President Obama and their leadership:

But 13 months after that tough vote [on cap-and-trade], [Ohio Democrat John] Boccieri and dozens of other House Democrats along the Rust Belt are not at all happy with the way things have turned out. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had assured reluctant members that the Senate would take up the measure. Although Senate passage wasn’t a sure thing, House Democrats hoped to go back home to voters with a great story to tell — about reducing dependence on foreign oil, slowing climate change and creating jobs.

That didn’t happen. Senate leaders, sensing political danger, repeatedly put off energy legislation, and the White House didn’t lean on them very hard to make it a priority. In the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, the Senate is set to take up a stripped-down bill next week, but the controversial carbon-emissions cap is conspicuously missing.

This has left some House Democrats feeling badly served by their leaders. Although lawmakers are reluctant to say so publicly, their aides and campaign advisers privately complain that the speaker and the president left Democrats exposed on an unpopular issue that has little hope of being signed into law.

I’m sure the Rust Belt Democrats feel abandoned, but I hope they don’t complain too loudly around the lawmakers from the Gulf Coast. Or perhaps the lawmakers on the southern border with Mexico; obviously many Democrats in Arizona are not happy with the Obama administration vilifying their state. Then again, Democratic lawmakers in California and Nevada probably feel neglected, with their states enduring unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average. As for Virginia Democrats . . . well, Obama couldn’t help them very much last year, nor New Jersey and Massachusetts, for that matter. Democrats in Missouri and Pennsylvania can’t be happy with how they’re heading into tough midterm elections, with the president’s approval rating at 41 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

So who doesn’t feel neglected by the Obama administration?

In addition, Washington elites have a much higher opinion of those in power than the general public. Among the elites, Obama has a 66 percent favorability rating, while 34 percent view him unfavorably. Outside of Washington, only 48 percent of respondents view the president favorably, compared with 47 percent who view him unfavorably.


Tags: Barack Obama , John Boccieri


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