Another Democrat Caught Running Away From Barack Obama

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 01:  U.S. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill December 1, 2009 in Washington, DC.  The legislators held a news conference to voice their oppositions on the Obama administration's decision to send 30,000 more troops to war in Afghanistan.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine told Fox News recently that Democrats shouldn’t be running away from being Democrats. “If you run away from who you are and you’re a Democrat, it’s foolish,” he said. “It’s foolish because you’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

Actions speak louder than words and judging by the actions of a lot of Democrats – including Texas governor candidate Bill White and now Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold – they’re not proud of what they’ve done at all.

President Barack Obama’s spending Labor Day afternoon in Milwaukee at an annual union festival. It’s quite a party: Parade organizers were still looking for volunteers to help carry the giant protest puppets of the Earth Goddess and such. Pity, then, that Russ Feingold, the incumbent Democratic senator in a neck-and-neck race, can’t hang out with the president.

But Obama and puppetry just aren’t the right atmospherics these days, are they?

Feingold, three terms in office and now tied with a plastics manufacturer no one heard of five months ago, will be at Laborfest earlier in the day. By afternoon, he’ll have scampered far from Obama, to a parade in his hometown, Janesville, where the General Motors bailout didn’t save the truck plant and unemployment is now double-digit. A spokesman said Feingold asked the White House to change its schedule, but you know how these things go.

Ask yourself: If you were an embattled senator, famously progressive and customarily elected by students, unions, peaceniks and others who dig giant protest puppets, and your state was going to be visited by a president who two years ago drew swooning arena-sized crowds of just such voters, do you think you could rearrange your schedule to absorb his magic?

Well sure, but the problem is that magic is gone.

And it’s not just the candidates who are running from Obama. Democrat party leadership has been telling their candidates to avoid talking about the policies they’ve passed over the last several years. Which is no doubt why Rep. Earl Pomeroy, as an example of the national trend, has been running a campaign blitz since April that hasn’t once mentioned a single thing he’s done in Congress recently.

Rather, it attacks his opponent Rick Berg and tries to cast Pomeroy as being an outsider from his own party.

If Democrats can’t campaign on what they’ve accomplished with their political majorities, maybe they don’t even believe that those policies will be good for the country.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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