Although DNC Chairman Timothy Kaine attempts to spin the conspicuous absence of Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold skipping a Democrat campaign rally tonight where President Barack Obama is appearing on his behalf, the slight is huge. Independent voters are breaking 2 to 1 in favor of Republicans a fact not lost on Democrat candidates.
Kaine appeared on CBS’s “The Early Show” today trying to put the best face on the fact that Feingold is actually running in the opposite direction from Obama. Kaine said that candidates “make their own decisions about these things.”
Obama’s standing in public opinion polls has been in free fall in recent months and worried Democrat candidates have been reluctant to appear with him. Today’s daily presidential tracking poll shows only 29% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president.
Obama is keenly aware of his pariah status. In the latest Rolling Stone interview, Obama laments to the left-leaning publication, “People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up. If people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”
Adding to Obama’s misery factor, among those deserting his sinking ship is his own White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is expected to announce on Friday — as Congress adjourns for recess — that he is leaving his post to run for mayor of Chicago.