Too marvelous for words: Down-ballot Republicans hitch wagon to President Obama

imageNow that it is becoming clear Donald Trump could do serious damage to down-ballot Republicans, it seems that some of them are trying to re-write history bigly.

Roll Call reported on Monday that “Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, released three radio ads with African-American pastors from across the state talking about his bill to help former prisoners with education and job training. Each ad includes the line that “Rob Portman authored a bipartisan law signed by President Obama to break the grip of heroin addiction.”

Obviously, featuring African-American pastors on the issue of criminal justice reform is about reaching out to African-American voters who might be more inclined to vote for a Democratic candidate.

Strangely, Portman appears to be in no real danger of losing to his Democratic opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, and even stranger, as Roll Call notes, “the opioid and heroin epidemic is often seen as a white epidemic.” Guess he wants to be really sure.

And then there’s Republican Rep. Darrell Issa in a competitive race for re-election in California who has put out a piece of campaign literature “praising Obama for signing a Survivors’ Bill of Rights.”

President Obama is, however, having none it, calling this kind of thing “the definition of chutzpah,” especially in Issa’s case given how critical Issa has been of Obama on a whole range of issues.

It’s not hard to figure out what’s going on, not when President Obama’s approval rating has been butting up against the upper 50 per cent range recently. And being a politician is about a lot of things but before anything else it’s about getting elected.

For Democrats who fear that very little positive can happen in Congress given how split the country is, I would suggest they continue to work towards beating Republicans at the ballot box as a tried and true way to get them to work across the aisle.

Some will continue to be intransigent due to a notion of ideological purity, but others will come around to the realization that at the end of day their favourite policy position is getting re-elected.

Though it may difficult to see now, I suspect Hillary Clinton will be an effective and popular president. And I suspect a surprising number of Republicans will think about the implications of taking her on. Love Obama, but she’s a different cat altogether.

We’ll see.

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