- - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

While Barack Obama was playing his 190th round of golf as president, chilling out on Martha’s Vineyard for a 15-day vacation at a $12 million mansion, the U.S. electorate began to change — fast.

The president had headed to the golf course just minutes after making a statement on the beheading of an American journalist. Pictures later showed him laughing, smiling, joking around with his golf buddies. (Talk about Clintonesque compartmentalizing.)

It didn’t take long for Mr. Obama to hit a record low in his approval rating — 38 percent. The president’s spectacular incompetence in fixing the U.S. economy had been on full view for more than five years, but Americans were only now getting a glimpse of his disastrous foreign policy skills.

While late summer saw the compliant mainstream media writing story after story about a “neck and neck” midterm election, those reports changed suddenly after Mr. Obama returned from his vacation. Out went the “tossup” predictions; in came headlines like “Is a midterm wave forming?”

That story, from the Washington-based newspaper The Hill, declared succinctly in its lead that “Republicans may be poised for strong midterm gains.”

Citing a new poll, the paper said Republicans hold a 10-point lead — 50 percent to 40 percent — in Senate battleground states on the question of “which party registered voters want to see in control of Congress.”

The paper made another blunt assessment: “President Obama is a huge drag on the party.”

Both are true. Polls that once showed at least somewhat close races, if not neck and neck, have begun to show Republicans pulling away. “Recent polls have shown Republicans likely to pick up seats in Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana,” wrote Nate Silver, the former New York Times polling savant.

“If the GOP wins these, plus either Kansas or North Carolina, then we’ll have a Republican-controlled Senate (Republicans are heavy favorites to win seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia),” the poll watcher wrote. He gave Republicans a 62.5 percent chance of taking control of the Senate.

Meanwhile, another political prognosticator said there’s really no need for a “wave” election, like the 2010 midterms that swept Republicans into the House in the biggest seat takeover since 1948.

“Republicans don’t need a wave election,” said Charlie Cook of the often accurate Cook Report. “If they win Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia — if you assume, I’ll use your phrase, in the bag — then, if they just get the three Democratic incumbents that are in deeply red states — Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana — they can win just with red states, and no wave necessary.”

Democrats have grown increasingly desperate. Few want anything to do with Mr. Obama. Americans are just now getting their new health care premiums under Obamacare, and it isn’t pretty, so the president is left to preside over partywide fundraisers, with no candidates at his side.

He’ll be even more alone after Nov. 4.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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