Congressional Democrats Fail to Recognize that President Obama Is Popular.

This doesn’t make any sense (via LA Times):

As President Obama’s approval ratings sag and the mood of voters sours, some Democratic congressional candidates are distancing themselves from the White House, with the back-channel blessing of party officials.

The candidates are positioning themselves as independent voices no less frustrated with the Obama administration than people back home.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents a California Central Valley district burdened by high unemployment and home foreclosures, said in an interview: “The Obama administration has failed miserably in trying to solve the problem.”

Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who also represents California’s Central Valley, blames Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for not doing enough to alleviate a drought that has hobbled farmers. Costa said his phone calls to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have gone unreturned.

“They’re not listening carefully enough to the people I represent,” Costa said.

Here is a graph showing President Obama’s approval ratings for the week ending in February 7th:

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By contrast, Congress’ approval ratings have been hovering in the 20 percent range for nearlysix months. For whatever reason, members of Congress can’t grasp the simple fact that they are dramatically less popular than the leader of their party. If they could, there’s a fair chance that they’d grasp the corollary to that fact, which is that their best chance for political survival is to run in Barack Obama’s direction. Voters like Barack Obama, and if recent polling is any indication, they like his policies and would like to see them implemented. If congressional Democrats are worried about losing their majority in November, the solution isn’t to repudiate the party, it’s to implement the president’s agenda.


Jamelle Bouie is a writer for Slate. He has also written for The Daily Beast, The American Prospect and The Nation. His work centers on politics, race, and the intersection of the two.

You can find him on Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram as jbouie.
  • Val

    The media likes this narrative. It allows them to set the stage for the November elections in which they hope the Dems will suffer big defeats because they think that will mean ratings. Unfortunately the Dems are politically stupid enough to follow along. Idiots!

  • Jill

    Is Ken Salazar supposed to make it rain in California?

  • Maybe Central Valley residents disapprove of Obama.