The Last Thing a Presidential Re-election Campaign Needs, Is Trouble With Its Base

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 22, 2011

But the Obama campaign may have more trouble with its base than it will be comfortable with, come 2012:

Of all the places to hear fulminations against President Obama, one of the least expected is the corner of 71st Avenue and Queens Boulevard, in the heart of a Congressional district that propelled Democrats like Geraldine A. Ferraro, Charles E. Schumer and Anthony D. Weiner to Washington.

But it was there that Dale Weiss, a 64-year-old Democrat, approached the Republican running for Congress in a special election and, without provocation, blasted the president for failing to tame runaway federal spending. “We need to cut Medicaid,” she declared, “but he won’t do that.” She shook her head in disgust. “He is a moron.”

After nodding approvingly for a time, the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, signaled for an assistant to cut off Ms. Weiss. Frustration with Mr. Obama is so widespread, he explained later, that he tries to limit such rants to about 30 seconds, or else they will consume most of his day.

“It’s endemic in the district,” Mr. Turner said. “You can’t stop them once they get started.”

The Sept. 13 election was expected to be a sleepy sideshow — a mere formality that would put David I. Weprin, a Democratic state assemblyman and heir to a Queens political dynasty, into a Congressional seat that became vacant this summer when Mr. Weiner quit over an online sex scandal.

Instead, the race has become something far more unsettling to Democrats: a referendum on the president and his party that is highlighting the surprisingly raw emotions of the electorate.

The general weakness of the Republican Presidential field may yet save the President’s re-election campaign, but the stars are aligning against him. Yes, I know that we have well over a year to go before Election Day, and yes, I know that a lot can change in between now and then. But increasingly, political foes of this President have every reason to like the position in which they find themselves. By contrast, the President and his allies increasingly have every reason to envy those foes.

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