- - Monday, October 6, 2014

President Obama can be credibly accused of many things, but not of an excess of modesty. With the control of the Senate on the line less than a month from now, Mr. Obama is turning the spotlight on himself. Disbelieving Democrats are terrified.

“Make no mistake,” says Mr. Obama, “these policies [of mine] are on the ballot, every single one of them.” Since he was at an taxpayer-funded event at a business school in Evanston, Ill., he made a ritual disclaimer. “This isn’t some official campaign speech, or political speech,” he said with a broad grin. “I’m not going to tell you who to vote for — although I suppose it is kind of implied.”

Even a casual observer can sympathize with Democrats for their lack of enthusiasm for the endorsement. A majority of Americans would rather have a root canal than cast a vote for Mr. Obama. Gallup finds only 44 percent support him, and 68 percent of those polled by the Associated Press think the nation is on the wrong track.

It’s only a matter of time before the Democratic National Committee sends a copy of Photoshop software to each campaign with instructions to airbrush Mr. Obama’s face out of all photographs of Democratic candidates. Democratic concern has become alarm on the way to panic.

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia campaigned last week for Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana. Mr. Manchin led the Senate fight last year for a major part of Mr. Obama’s gun-control package, but there he was, standing without shame, on a skeet range in Louisiana next to Mrs. Landrieu with a shotgun. (We presume it was unloaded and that the clay skeets were in no danger.)

Mr. Obama once distributed a photograph of himself holding a shotgun, and Joe Biden praised the value of shooting double-barreled shotguns wildly into the dark to frighten intruders, if any. Such poses don’t make any of them defenders of the Second Amendment. If Mrs. Landrieu’s photograph at a skeet range is worth a thousand words, then her vote for Mr. Obama’s gun-control scheme last year should be worth a million of them, all well chosen.

It’s all posturing. In Kentucky, one of the few places in the country where Democrats are on the offensive, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat, is hotly pursuing Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader. Coal is always on the mind of Kentucky voters. Thousands of Kentucky jobs depend directly on coal mining, so Mrs. Grimes finds it wise to keep herself out of camera range when the president is in her neighborhood.

It’s all a “lying game,” a member of the Grimes campaign staff tells an investigator working for undercover video documentarian James O’Keefe. “You can’t be a statewide politician and condemn coal,” explains another Grimes campaign operative. “You can’t. You are not gonna win.”

Another aide explains that Mrs. Grimes didn’t really mean it when she said: “I am the pro-coal candidate in this race.” The undercover cameras couldn’t find anyone who took Mrs. Grimes at her word. “She’s saying something positive about coal because she wants to be elected.”

It’s no wonder that voters are cynical about politicians. The desperate rush of Democrats to appear to be pro-coal, pro-gun and even anti-Obama is a fool’s errand anywhere that Barack Obama is on the ballot.

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