Conservative Democrats are separating themselves sharply from President Barack Obama, sapping his strength as he seeks votes from independents and negotiating leverage over Republicans, says Fox News analyst Juan Williams.
West Virginia’s three top Democrats — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall – showed their feelings about Obama last week, when they announced they will shun the Democratic National Convention, Williams writes in The Hill
. Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz is doing the same.
Over the weekend North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre refused to say whether he would back the president.
Usually congressional candidates want a strong presidential candidate at the top of their ticket. “But in this election cycle conservative Democrats obviously see their political fortunes as separate from Obama’s,” Williams argues.
The Obama campaign, of course, wants to do all it can to maintain the support of conservative Democrats, especially as the president seeks to attract the independent voters who will determine the election’s outcome. “He could use conservative Democrats as allies,” Williams writes. “The result is the White House never punishes the turncoats.”
The rebels also have hurt Obama when it comes to policy. “When the history of Obama’s first term is written, conservative Democrats will also be remembered for regularly throwing wrenches into any plans coming from this president,” Williams says.
Conservative Democrats made Obama change his healthcare reform plan substantially to gain their approval. They also opposed him on the Keystone oil pipeline.
“And in the last week, seven conservative Senate Democrats undercut the president’s negotiations with Republicans over a budget deal,” Williams writes. “The move weakens Obama in negotiations with the GOP.”
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