WASHINGTON — Just six months ago, having their names uttered in the same sentence as President Barack Obama’s was something many congressional Democrats could have lived without.
But with the economy slowly crawling back to life, a shift in messaging at the White House and a Republican push on social issues, Democrats are accepting — and in some cases openly embracing — the inevitable yoking of their campaigns to Obama’s as election-year activities accelerate. On Capitol Hill, Democrats have begun to mention Obama more often and have gone out of their way to publicly back some of his proposals.
Democrats say Obama’s near monophonic campaigning in recent months — highlighting his differences with Republicans on policies affecting the middle class — is far more resonant in their districts and states than defending the health care law or the stimulus package, issues that have dogged Democrats.
This month, Obama’s pivot into an “all of the above” energy policy platform, one more or less lifted from the Republicans’ 2008 campaign, is something moderate Democrats, many of whom support things like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that Obama has blocked, are also happy to hear.
Republicans believe strongly that Obama remains a significant liability in states like Missouri, Montana and North Carolina, all places where Democrats are in jeopardy, as well as many congressional districts where his policies remain radioactive.