Friday, January 15, 2010

Risk? No

Just a follow up on Obama's trip to MA: a lot of people seem to think that it's a "risk" for Obama to go up there, starting with the NYT (the word "risk" is in the front-page teaser, not the blog post, which uses "peril"), and John Nichols in The Nation, and Steve Benen, and many others. 

Nonsense.  There's no risk here.  If Coakley loses, everyone is going to blame the president.  Oh, she'll get blame as well, but no one cares about that; it has no effects outside of the state of Massachusetts.  If she loses be a narrow margin and he doesn't go, then he gets blamed; just as he would if she loses by a narrow margin and he does go. 

When something has only upside and no downside -- and that's pretty much the case with a trip to Boston for the president this weekend -- then it's not a risk.  Even if the overall situation is bad (for him and the Dems), this particular move has little if any downside.  It's far better for him to be able to say that he did all he could than to try to claim that it had nothing to do with him -- whether or not it actually has anything to do with him.


  1. Jon, I disagree. What happens if Brown wins by 10? That'll be a huge personal loss for the President.

  2. If Brown wins by 10, everyone blames it on Obama whether or not he goes up there. The only difference, I think, is that some Dems may think that if only Obama had gone, things might have been different (especially true if it's very close, instead of a blowout).

    Mainly, they aren't going to blame it on Obama's actions in this campaign; they're going to blame it on the overall atmosphere, which Obama gets the blame (or credit) for, regardless of whether that's true or not (and regardless of whether the overall atmosphere had anything to do with it). That's just how it is for the president, and he needs to act with that in mind.

  3. But today Coakley is down by maybe 2. All of this can be blamed on a bad campaign - the President can still escape a la Bill Clinton. I think he is in danger of losing his popularity with this appearance. Tom


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