Drink the pain. Drink:
The 2014 election is likely to give us many more moments of gut-wrenching agony and Democrats going all Apostle Peter on the president they universally supported when elected in 2008. Members of the White House political team will grit their teeth and ask low-level campaign staffers if, you know, it would be OK for the commander-in-chief to show up. They will be told to call back in a few days. Often, they will be told, “No thanks, but send money.”
This won’t console the candidates, but they are not the first to find themselves trapped between their voters and an unpopular president. In 1998 and in 2006, both the second midterm years of struggling presidents, lots of candidates agonized over whether to let the most powerful man in the world land his plane near them.
Note that this would be the Democrats’ pain, not necessarily Dave Weigel’s. But I will note this: Weigel’s later choosing the Talent/McCaskill 2006 Senate race as an example of how an unpopular President can still help a campaign by showing up would have worked much better if Talent had, well, won. Because, honestly, the reason why candidates try to avoid being seen with unpopular Presidents is because politicians are remarkably… I almost wrote ‘superstitious,’ but that term implies that their instinctive desire to shy away from political lepers is ill-advised. A certain amount of empirical evidence suggests otherwise.