“WASHINGTON – Voters rejected one of President Barack Obama's hand-picked candidates and forced another into a runoff, the latest sign that his political capital is slipping beneath a wave of anti-establishment anger.
Sen. Arlen Specter became the fourth Democrat in seven months to lose a high-profile race despite the president's active involvement, raising doubts about Obama's ability to help fellow Democrats in this November's elections.
The first three candidates fell to Republicans. But Specter’s loss Tuesday to Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania's Democratic senatorial primary cast doubts on Obama's influence and popularity even within his own party — and in a battleground state, no less.
Of course, it's possible that Democrats will fare better than expected this fall. And there's only so much that any president can do to help other candidates, especially in a non-presidential election year.
Still, Obama's poor record thus far could hurt his legislative agenda if Democratic lawmakers decide they need some distance from him as they seek re-election in what is shaping up as a pro-Republican year. Conversely, it might embolden Republican lawmakers and candidates who oppose him.”
—Charles Babington, “Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats,” Associated Press
Well, actually, since Sestak is not only a Democrat but also a liberal Democrat who as a congressman supported the health-insurance legislation without hesitation and who supports the legislative agenda of Obama and Nancy Pelosi on the entire current panoply of high-profile issues—climate-change legislation, financial-sector regulation, immigration-reform legislation—it would appear more likely that the Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters were more concerned that Specter, if reelected, may revert to his “independent” or Republican policy positions on such key proposed legislation than that Sestak would, um—what?
Vote for Obama’s legislative proposals? Or, like they were afraid Specter might, vote against them?
Why would a vote for a solid liberal House member as their senate candidate signify that Democrats want the more progressive legislation defeated. What is Babington talking about?
Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats. But when the Obama-endorsed primary candidate loses to a clearly ideologically liberal Democrat, that hardly indicates that Democrats are rejecting the more progressive policy proposals of the White House or the congressional Democrats. It indicates the opposite.