Listening to the news and the various “talking heads” in the media, it would seem that many Americans believe President Barack Obama should focus his time and attention on the issues that are troubling this nation and not on the campaign trail with his fellow Democrats.
Partisanship between the reigning president and the members of his party is nothing new to voters. In fact, there is a great deal of speculation when the president does not campaign with any given senator or representative of his party.
For example, in 1998 and 1999, then-Vice President Al Gore did not want the popular President Bill Clinton to be involved with his campaign—a move many believe resulted in his loss to George Bush. In 2008, the United States saw Senator John McCain, a Republican, trying to run for the presidency by distancing himself from an unpopular President Bush.
I can understand the argument against Obama supporting Democratic candidates because citizens want to know that the president, whether they voted for him or not, is working hard to resolve the economic crisis through which everyone is suffering. However, we know that the president has already factored in the time required to make these very necessary campaign rallies with the members who are candidates for re-election in his party; this is a part of his job description.
There are various pros surrounding the president’s campaigning for candidates. In a time like this, when the president is trying so hard to push his agenda through the House and Senate, the Obama administration needs more Democrats who believe in his agenda and the direction in which he is leading the country. If the Democrats can manage to keep ones they would remain in the majority, enabling them to push legislation more easily.
With the rise of the Tea Party, so many slurs and slanderous words have been directed at the president that many people feel that he should stand up and “clear the air.” This is another, more personal motive, which he can achieve by campaigning for candidates, as the president would have a chance both to reaffirm his agenda to the public and try to put the Tea Party movement to rest.
On the campaign trail with the members of his party, the president has the opportunity to meet with John Citizen—the little people—and hear them once again firsthand. Therefore, upon his return to office he can reflect on their opinions about the policies he wants to make into law.
He can reconnect with the vision of his party and his constituent base during these campaigns. However, by being on the campaign trail, more attention is drawn to President Obama’s ratings which, at the moment, prove that his administration is out of its “honeymoon phase,” as his critics call it. Moreover, if the candidates that the president endorses lose, it will have a negative effect on the president in more ways than one.
The media would sensationalize the story and the candidate’s failure would be attached to everything that the president tries to do.
In the end, Obama has made the decision to be on the campaign trail, whether we like it or not. Obviously he and his advisors feel that it is beneficial for him to rally on the trail, regaining support and boasting morale regarding the future success of his administration.
Only Election Day and the days following it will tell us if it was the right decision.